University of Vermont

UVM Women's Center

Common myths about sexual assault

Myth: "It can't happen to me."

Truth: It can happen to anyone. While most victims of sexual violence are women, anyone can experience violence. Victims include people who identity as Transgender, people of color, people with disabilities, lesbians, gay and straight men, bisexuals and they come from every racial, ethnic, religious, economic and social background.

Myth: "Sexual assault is provoked by the victim."

Truth: People don't "ask" to be raped through actions or dress. Studies show that 60-70% of assaults are planned by the perpetrator. No one's behavior or dress gives another person the right to harm them.

Myth: "If you're drinking and you are sexually assaulted, it is partially your fault"

Truth: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim's fault. UVM policy and VT law state that there can be no consent if either person involved in the encounter is mentally and/or physically incapacitated due to alcohol or other drug consumption, being asleep or unconscious. Alcohol is present in over 70 percent of assaults.

If you choose to report the crime of assault to police or the University, they will be concerned about the assault and your safety first and foremost, not whether or not you were drinking when the assault took place.

Myth: "The primary motive for sexual assault is sexual, an uncontrollable urge for gratification on the part of the perpetrator."

Truth: Sexual assault is driven by power and control. Rape is sexualized violence not violent sex. This myth is also perpetuated by the belief that men are unable to control their "biological urges" to have sex. This Is simply untrue as men are perfectly capable of controlling themselves.

Last modified August 22 2013 02:37 PM