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Separating Fact from Fiction

Because sexual assault is shrouded in secrecy, there are a number of myths that inform people's opinions, thoughts and beliefs about sexual violence. Myths about rape can provide us with a false sense of security; we may think that if we don't engage in certain behaviors or dress a certain way, that it can never happen to us. Separating fact from fiction is important for a number of reasons including(1) it helps to create a safe environment for survivors to heal, (2) it decreases the amount of victim-blaming that often occurs after a sexual assault, (3) it shifts the focus from the survivor to the perpetrator and helps everyone examine behaviors and attitudes in society that promote a rape culture.

When you hear some of these common myths, stand up, speak out and share the facts:

(1) Peggy Reeves Sanday, "The Socio-Cultural Context of Rape: A Cross-Cultural Study," Journal of Social Issues 37, no.4 (1981).

(2) U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey

(3) Lawrence A. Greenfield, Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1994).

Sources: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The Aurora Center for Education and Advocacy