Myths and Facts

Myth: There is a right way to respond to a rape situation.

Fact: Since rape is life-threatening and each rapist has their own pattern, the best thing a victim can do is follow their own instincts and observe any cues from the rapist. If the victim has escaped alive, they have behaved in the right way.

Myth: Victim’s provoke rape.

Fact: Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned. Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone. Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape.

Myth: If the assailant, victim, or both are drunk, the assailant cannot be charged with rape.

Fact: Forcing sex on someone who is too drunk to give consent (legally drunk) is considered a crime in most states. Rape is a crime. People who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not considered free from guilt.

Myth: Domestic violence is rare.

Fact: A national study reported that 29% of women and 22% of men had at some point been victims of physical, sexual, or psychological intimate partner violence. Every year in the U.S., more than 800,000 men and 1.5 million women experience sexual or domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner. It is also a myth that domestic violence happens only in lower-income families. In fact, domestic violence occurs with people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Myth: It’s only abuse if you were physically hurt.

Fact: There are many types of abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, and emotional. Not all abuse results in physical injuries. If a person repeatedly hurts you, scares you, humiliates you, or belittles you, it is still abuse. Many abusers will also try to control your choices and your finances, isolate you from friends and family, or become excessively controlling by insisting on knowing where you are at all times. These are all examples of abuse.

Myth: Domestic violence is caused by alcohol and/or drug use.

Fact: Alcohol and drug use does not cause domestic violence, even though it often accompanies it. The abuser is still responsible for his/her actions and exhibit abusive behavior even without alcohol or drug use.

Myth: Abusers lose control and the abuse is unintentional.

Fact: Domestic violence is not solely the physical abuse. Other controlling behaviors, such as intimidation, controlling decisions, and isolation of the victim, are integral parts of the abuse. The abuser wants to gain control in many ways, and those are done intentionally.

Myth: Domestic violence does not commonly include sexual abuse.

Fact: Domestic violence includes many forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, and emotional. Sexual abuses can include sexual assault, harassment, or exploitation. Domestic violence occurs when the abuser wants to control the victim. Sexual abuse is another method of exerting that control.

Myth: Women are not abusers and men are not victims of domestic violence.

Fact: Men are the victims of domestic abuse almost as often as women are. Studies have reported that for every 47 women who are abused, there are at least 32 men who are abused.