Myths About Sexual Misconduct

Myth: Rape is a rare occurrence.

Fact: Between one in four and one in five college women will experience rape or attempted rape over the course
of a five-year college career (Fisher, Cullen, and Turner, December 2000).

Fact: 80–90 percent of assaults and attempted assaults are never reported.

Myth: If women were more cautious in avoiding strangers, they would not be raped.

Fact: Almost four out of five rapes were committed by someone known to the victim, such as a friend or acquaintance. (Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center: Arlington, VA, 1992.)

Myth: A person cannot be sexually assaulted by his/her partner.

Fact: Sexual assault is a crime regardless of the relationship between the victim and offender. Victims of intimate
partner assault are less likely to report the assault for fear that they will not be believed or because of their emotional investment in the relationship.

Myth: Victims of sexual assault are always bruised and visibly shaken. Otherwise it is not a real assault/rape.

Fact: There are many responses to the trauma of sexual assault. The threat of physical harm and the surprise
of the attack can immobilize a person with fear. Sexual assault is sexual contact that is perpetrated against the
victim’s will—most of the damage is nonphysical.

Myth: Men are not at risk for being sexually assaulted.

Fact: Men can be assaulted, too. Men are most likely to be assaulted by another man or group of men. Often
weapons or alcohol are involved. Being raped has nothing to do with the victim’s sexuality or homophobic social
attitudes.