7 Myths About Sexual Assault and Dating Violence

Sad Girl against a wall

Sexual assault survivors are men and women and boys and girls of all races and social class, but 80% of them are under 30 years old when the violence takes place. DoSomething.org talked with Megan McKendry, a board member of Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER), who dispelled 7 myths about sexual assault and dating violence.

Most rapists are strangers.

77% of female sexual assault victims know their assailants. On college campuses, 9 out of 10 female victims know their attackers.

If victims don't aggressively fight back, they weren't raped.

Intentional sexual contact without consent of the other person constitutes sexual assault, regardless of whether or not victims fight back. Victims may not use physical force for a number of reasons, including fear or physical incapacitation.

Rape requires the use of a weapon.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 80% of rape and sexual assault incidents do not involve a weapon.

Men cannot be raped.

1 out of 33 men will be a victim of rape or sexual assault in his lifetime.

Most often, a rapist is arrested and jailed after the assault.

60% of rapes and sexual assaults are never reported, and only 40% of reported rapes are prosecuted. 15 out of 16 rapists will never serve jail time.

It is impossible to rape a spouse or significant other.

Just because someone has consented to have sex with a spouse or partner once, twice, or a hundred times before does not mean that he or she has consented to all future sex with that person.

A woman is "asking for it" if she is dressed a certain way or acts a certain way.

Intentional sexual contact without consent of the other person constitutes sexual assault, regardless of whether or not victims fight back. No one "asks" to be raped regardless of what the person is wearing or how the person is behaving.