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Myths about rape and sexual abuse

The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence and rape can include many emotional, psychological and physical conditions.

The experience of these crimes for all victims at any age can have devastating effects on every aspect of a person’s being and life.

These effects can cause damage to their mind, body, behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

busting myths

The top ten myths below have been ‘myth-busted’

1. Most rapists are strangers

Many people, when they think about rape and how rapes occur, imagine unknown dark alleyways, late at night and the attacker being a stranger.

The truth is the majority of people who commit rape do know their victims and in some cases are family members, friends or work colleagues.

2. Men cannot be raped

Rape or assault by penetration – a person commits assault by penetration if he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a part of the body or anything else, without their consent. See our page ‘Your Questions Answered for a definition of the law.

3. She/he was raped because of the way they were dancing, the way they dressed or spoke

Many people feel that they are to blame because of the way they were dressed, spoke or the way they were dancing. Our main concern is that you receive the specialist care you deserve, and you are safe. Nobody will judge you.

4. Male rape is a gay crime

Rape or sexual assault is ultimately about power, control or domination of the other person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender. See our page Your Questions Answered for a definition of the law.

5. All rape victims have injuries

All rape victims’ experiences are different. The scars may be psychological, emotional, physical or even all three, and the victim or survivor will be treated according to their specific needs. See our Counselling F.A.Q. page for more information.

6. A rape victim always needs to say NO to show they don’t consent

Most people presume that all rape victims need to say the word ‘no’ to state that they do not consent to sex. The reality is that some victims will ‘freeze’ during an attack, they may appear ‘vacant’ . This is sometimes due to shock or fear of the attacker and is part of the natural human instinct for survival.

7. My friend was raped, but I feel helpless because I can’t report it

If someone you know has been raped, you can report it to us or the police. They will log the incident and approach the victim themselves. Third party reporting (some one other than the victim reporting) is particularly effective if the victim does not feel comfortable in speaking to the police initially or if there is a language barrier. In addition you can make a report anonymously if you wish. See our ISVA F.A.Q. page for more information.

8. Rape cannot happen between husband and wife

Rape within marriage and relationships whether straight or gay do occur. If your partner, husband or wife has forced you into having sex with them, it is still a serious sexual offence, it is against the law. See our page Your questions Answered for a definition of the law.

9. I was drunk, it’s my own fault

Having drunk too much or having your drink spiked does not mean it was your fault, if you were too intoxicated to say yes or say no, it is still against the law to commit a sexual act on you without your consent.See our page ‘Your Questions Answered‘ for a definition on the law.

10. You can only report rape to the police

You can report rape to your GP, Hospital, Social Services, or any other responsible organisation, without having to speak to police. However, they will approach the police if you want them to. In addition you can seek advice from charities or  organisations offering specialist services for victims of sexual crime. These charities or organisations will advise you and discuss what kind of help is available to you. See our ISVA F.A.Q page for more help.


We hope you understand the myths and truths now – contact us if you need any further advice


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Finally if you need clarity on what rape, sexual abuse and other sexual offences are, visit the UK government pages listing the Sexual Offences Act.






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