About 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime, a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds. Nearly half – 44 percent – of women reported experiencing some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime. Did you know that of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93% of juvenile victims knew the perpetrator? Approximately 59% were acquaintances, 34% were family members, and 7% were strangers to the victim?
As you can see, sexual assault is on the rise and it is a serious problem affecting both men and women, but mainly women. People will always have their own opinions and views on different subject matters but when it comes to one subject that is very serious, sexual assault and rape, there are some beliefs that have become extremely popular that are in actuality very false! Here are the top 3….
1. Sexual Assault is usually a misunderstanding
Let’s see if you have heard a story line like this before: A young college woman and man are at a party and have accidently had too much to drink which leads them to going upstairs and into the bedroom together. They have sexual intercourse and maybe she wanted it or maybe she didnt’, but regardless the next day she regrets her decision and feels that she was sexually assaulted. He of course didn’t mean it and felt it was just a miscommunication and now no one knows really what happened and it just gets swept under the rug. THIS IS NOT THE REALITY. The truth of this story most of the time is that the man knows exactly what he is doing and knew exactly how much more alcohol to give to her to make this an easy process. We are adults and we understand social cues, including the nonverbal indication that someone does not want to have sex. These men take advantage of the misconception that sexual assault is a miscommunication or a drunken misunderstanding and they rely on the fallacy that drunk girls are practically asking for it. This is not a misunderstanding but instead a well thought out and calculated plan by the perpetrator. Now don’t get me wrong, this isnt the case every time but there are many situations where this does happen and when it does the excuse that it’s a misunderstanding is the first thing that comes up. There has been research done to show that most incidents on college campus are in fact not a misunderstanding and here is an article written by Andrea Anne Curcio with great statistics and information on this matter: (http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2016/04/11/what-colleges-dont-tell-you-most-campus-sexual-assaults-happen-in-dorms-freshmen-particularly-vulnerable/) So are there situations where miscommunication can happen? Of course! But the statistics and research don’t lie, most perpetrators know exactly what they are doing.
2. Rape Victims act like victims
Many people think if you have been attacked and have experienced such a traumatic event that you will react in a certain way, such as being angry, mad, sad, or even outraged. Many will assume that she will be clear about what happened and that she would tell someone right away. Unfortunately, most survivors are quite the opposite. They don’t react, they dont even say a word nor do they even show any emotional signs that one would expect after such a traumatic experience. Most women go numb and they hide their emotions because they feel ashamed. Many women lash out by having more sex because it’s their way of seeking the control of their bodies that they just lost during an attack. Women do speak up and claim the victim, but many don’t and instead they carry this burden with them everywhere they go and because of this there are more cases unknown than known.
3. Sexual Assault is usually done by a stranger
"80% of people assume that violent attacks will occur from a stranger jumping out of nowhere. In fact, many of us invision the stereotypical shady male figure, dressed in all black, stalking their victim from a secretive hiding place. Yes, there are rapists that are strangers and quite possibly fit this MO, but far more often, sexual assailants attack people they know. Sadly, ⅔ of survivors know their attacker and more than a third of them are a family member or friend of the victim. So are our attackers strangers? Yes, but only a small percentage and that is exactly why we need to be aware and prepared at all times.
The reality of it all is that no one can prevent rape or sexual assault from occurring but what we can do is continue to educate and share the truth behind this very serious epidemic. There will continue to be false beliefs around this subject but that doesn’t change the fact that we should always be prepared. Whether it’s being aware of your inner circle and the people you choose to surround yourself with or avoiding potential situations and environments that are conducive for this behavior or even carrying around safety devices such as pepper spray or tinySOS, we need to always be protected just in case we find ourselves in an unfortunate situation that we have no control over. If we can always be prepared and continue to spread awareness around this serious issue then we can actually start creating positive change and help lives of many!