FOR VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS

UNDERSTANDING THE CRIME OF RAPE

Rape is a violent crime. Some people confuse rape with sex, and this confusion can result in many problems for rape victims and their families and friends. Rape is NOT passion gone astray, nor is it simply the result of sexual arousal with no other outlet for gratification. The rapist's purpose is to dominate, control and degrade the victim, not express sexual passion. The rapist expresses anger, hostility, power, and control through a sexual act.

Some Facts About Rape

No one ever asks or deserves to be raped. One of the biggest misconceptions about rape is that the victim provoked the assault or was "asking for it."  Rape is a violent crime and victims often fear injury or death during the assault. Even if the victim used poor judgment prior to the rape, this does not mean that he or she provoked the rape. Many rapes are perpetrated by persons who have earned the victim’s trust. Trusting someone or using poor judgment is NOT a rape-able offense.

Only a rapist can prevent rape. It is simply not true that victims could somehow have prevented the rape. Rapists often isolate their victims so resistance can be futile and may only increase the risk for injury or death. Many victims are unable to fight back because of fear or shock. Submission is not the same thing as consent and rape victims do the best they can to survive. A victim should never be made to feel that what they did or did not do was wrong.

Only 2-6% of reported rapes are thought to be false reports. This statistic is in keeping with false reports of all crimes. The decision to report a rape can be difficult and the crime of rape is actually underreported. It is estimated that only about 16%-20% of all rapes are reported to law enforcement officials and it is not true that most reports of rape are false.

Although the fear of stranger rape is legitimate, we know that about 80% of perpetrators of rape and sexual assault are acquaintances of their victims.

Rape can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, profession, economic status, or locale. Rape occurs far more often than many people realize and national surveys report that as many as one out of every six females and one out of every thirty-three males will be a victim of rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives.


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