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Myths About Sex Offenders and Their Victims

1. Myth: Rapists are healthy, lusty young men "sowing wild oats." Rape is a crime of passion.

Truth: Rape is always a sign of weakness, indicating a need to exert power and control over someone else. Rape is not an expression of sexual desire, but is an act of sexual violence. It's about the desire for power and domination. Rapists purposely use forced sex to humiliate and degrade victims. Rapists can be of any age.

2. Myth: Women really want to be raped. After the initial shock, they enjoy being sexual with a "powerful" man. Some women act seductive and alluring to provoke rapists.

Truth: Being raped is universally traumatic, and one of the worst events that a person can experience. No one wants to be raped. Rapists are usually desperate, angry, and insecure men. Most rapists select their victims because they are available or vulnerable (not because of the way they dress).

3. Myth: Rapists rape attractive women who are drunk in bars.

Truth: Rapists rape anyone anywhere. Most rapes occur in the victim's home.

4. Myth: Infants, young boys and men are never sexually assaulted.

Truth: Victims of sexual abuse range from newborn to the elderly, including both males and females of all ages, and all levels of society and lifestyles.

5. Myth: Rapes occur in the summer when people are wearing fewer clothes.

Truth: Rapes occur every time of day and night, summer, fall, winter, and spring.

6. Myth: Rapists are mostly accused falsely by women or girls who went along and regretted it later.

Truth: Rapists blame the victim to avoid taking responsibility for their crimes. Some victims may comply with the rapist's demands because they are in fear for their lives. Compliance is not consent.

7. Myth: If a person was really abused, then he/she would report is right away.

Truth: Many victims of sexual abuse are too frightened or embarrassed to tell someone.

8. Myth: Rapists are just men who were being sexual with a woman. But after the woman turned him on, she wanted to stop. She deserved what she got.

Truth: Appropriate sex stops if and when either partner becomes uncomfortable with what is happening. Everyone has the right to stop sex at any point. No one deserves to have his or her body violated. No one deserves to be raped.

9. Myth: A woman can stop a rape if she really wants to.

Truth: Some women do stop rapes by resisting, running, using self-defense skills, or figuring out how to get help or get away. Most victims are afraid of being killed or maimed during a rape. Rapists use weapons, violence, and threats to control their victims. Rapists are also usually larger and stronger. Rapists are always responsible for their actions. Rape will stop when rapists stop raping. Victims cannot stop rape.

10. Myth: You cannot rape your wife.

Truth: Every person has a right to say no to sex and to have their statement respected without fear of harm. Marrying someone does not give you rights to her body. Having sex with someone when she does not want it is not love or lust. It is violence.