Rape Myths

Click on the images to learn more about rape myths and facts around Sleep, Relationships, Intimacy, Drinking and Dress.

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Having sex with someone whilst they are sleeping is not rape.
Sex without consent is rape. Both parties have to agree to sex. If a person is sleeping then they are not capable of giving consent. Sex with someone who is sleeping therefore is rape and the law is very clear on this.
This is an emerging picture but one that should be very clear. Around 19% of rapes reported to Police Scotland last year involved a victim who was sleeping at the time of incident.
Understand that rape when sleeping is a significant and emerging problem.
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Many people believe that sexual intercourse without consent in a relationship doesn’t constitute rape, or if they do, that it is not as serious as an assault carried out by a stranger. The belief that by marrying or co-habiting a woman has given up her right to say no and should comply with her partner’s sexual demands still exists
In Scotland last year more than 40% of rapes reported to police involved a partner or ex-partner. This figure is increasing year on year. Victims are being raped daily, weekly, monthly by their partners.
Women who are raped by their partners are much less likely to report the assaults against them or seek legal help than those attacked by strangers. This can leave woman vulnerable to repeated attacks. Fear of retribution, a sense of family loyalty or even a lack of awareness, often silences many women who have been assaulted by their partners, and prevents them from naming it as rape. It is only since 1989 that rape in marriage was recognised as a crime in Scotland. The sense of a man’s entitlement to sex with his wife or partner can still be alive in the minds and imaginations of many people, and is often used to excuse rape. Rape also occurs within the early stages of a relationship where the victim met their attacker online through social media, internet dating or online chat. A third of offences took place on a first date (Police figures 2017-18).
Do not trivialise sex without consent between spouses or partners simply because they have previously had consensual sex – sex without consent is ALWAYS rape and rape is ALWAYS serious. Challenge the suggestion that rape in the context of a marriage or any other intimate relationship is less serious than being raped by a stranger. Insist that women and men in relationships have the same rights as all women and this includes the right to say no.
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A woman raped after consenting to any level of sexual activity is to blame for 'giving mixed signals'. Woman can often be blamed for giving some level of social contact or intimacy to a man before he rapes her. She may have been on a date with him, smiled at him, flirted with, danced, laughed, kissed and engaged in some other level of intimacy with him. However, she did not choose to have sex with him but the view is often that she 'had it coming'.
Intimacy does not mean consent. Sex without consent is rape.
Victims blame themselves and do not come forward.
Understand what consent is and appreciate that intimacy means nothing, rape is a crime. Understand that sexual contact does not mean and automatically extend to sexual intercourse. Be supportive and listen to the full story.
A victim raped after consuming alcohol is to blame for not considering her own security.
In a report for the Office for National Statistics published earlier this year, around a quarter of respondents thought that the victim was completely or partly responsible for a rape if they were under the influence of alcohol.
Victims expect to be judged by the level of alcohol they have consumed and this has a significant knock-on impact on whether they report the incident to the police or seek support and assistance from elsewhere.
Be clear to yourself and others that the responsibility for rape rests with the perpetrator and not the victim. Challenge notions that women who are drunk are somehow responsible. Influence those around you in social environments not to purposely seek out women who have had a lot to drink and speak out when you witness behaviour or language that makes you uncomfortable.
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A victim's clothing or fashion, if revealing or figure hugging, means they are responsible for their attack.
Many studies have been conducted on this subject and all consistently indicate that around a third of members of the public surveyed believe that a woman is partly to blame if she is wearing 'revealing' clothes.
Rape is a horrific and traumatic act of violence where victims mode of dress is irrelevant. Children, men and woman can all be victims and none dress to be raped.
Challenge assumptions about sexual assault and dress, as well as attitudes that suggest their appearance had something to do with being raped. Don’t impose your own values or codes on someone else – you may consider the way a person has decided to present themselves as inadvisable or inappropriate, but you have no right to judge them less worthy of consideration than you would be.