Was she really asking for it?
By Tishya Bedi, Daya Intern
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Due to the stigma of sexual violence, there is a lot of false information that circulates about the nature of sexual violence and the people affected by it, perpetuating myths that are often misunderstood as facts. The following are eight common myths which directly impact survivors of assault and abuse and the people around them:
1. Myth: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that cannot be controlled.
Fact: Sexual assault is about power and control which isn’t always motivated by sexual
2. Myth: If a victim of sexual assault does not fight back, the assault must have not been that bad or that they wanted it.
Fact: Many survivors experience tonic immobility or a “freeze response” during an assault – this hinders them from being able to move or speak.
3. Myth: A person cannot be sexually assaulted by their partner or spouse.
Fact: About 1 in 10 women have experienced rape by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
4. Myth: Sexual assaults mostly happen in public.
Fact: 55% of rapes or sexual assaults occur at or by the victim’s home.
5. Myth: Rape doesn’t happen that often.
Fact: 1 person is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds in the United States.
6. Myth: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it”.
Fact: The perpetrator selects the victim – the victim’s behavior or clothing choices do not mean that they are consenting to sexual activity.
7. Myth: People with disabilities are at low risk for sexual assault.
Fact: People with disabilities are victims of sexual assault twice as much as people without disabilities.
8. Myth: Getting help is expensive for survivors of assault.
Fact: Services such as counseling and advocacy are offered for free or at a low cost by sexual assault service providers.
It is necessary to be educated on the myths of sexual assault as a great deal of harm is done to the survivors when the myths above are believed by the people around them. It can stop someone from seeking or accessing help or even reporting it as a crime. The myths perpetuate the idea that sexual violence does not occur in our society or that it's not that big of a deal. How people react to victims and survivors can positively impact their healing process.
For more information or to seek help, call the Daya helpline (713) 981-7645 or The National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673.