SURVIVOR SERIES: COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT
When you hear the term “sexual assault”, an image may pop into your head: a dark alleyway, a masked stranger, and a provocatively dressed woman who’s had too much to drink. However, a third of the population of women in the United States can tell you from personal experience how inaccurate that portrayal of rape is.
An estimate of 59% rapes went unreported between 2000 and 2005. My hope is that victims of sexual assault will feel more comfortable reporting after learning about the common misconceptions regarding the aftermath of assault. Victims may be discouraged from reporting with thoughts such as:
- “It won’t make a difference if I report or not.”
- It always makes a difference. If not for yourself, do it for the next girl he targets. Once he has one sexual assault charge on his record,
- “I don’t think he/she knows it was rape.”
- Then tell them. They should know the pain they caused. If it’s your significant other, it’s still assault and it’s still illegal. If it’s your best friend, it’s still assault and it’s still illegal.
- “It happened so long ago, though.”
- While there is a statute of limitations based on several personal factors, it’s worth the hassle.
- “No one will believe me.”
- Rape might be considered taboo, but that will not be fixed if you make yourself heard. It should be something we can speak about, not brush under the rug.
- “Maybe I deserved it.”
- This was not your fault. You could have danced around your attacker butt-naked for three hours, and that person does not have the right to touch you without your consent.
- “I don’t even know if it was rape.”
- If he/she kept going after you said or implied, “No,” it was rape.
- “I’m fine.”
- Sexual assault is a violation of your being, and that is not something to brush off. To get the help you deserve, the Counseling Services Center (located in Mary Walker Health Center) provides students with free mental health counseling with an appointment at (315)312-4416 between 8:30am and 4:30pm.
Written by Susie Fox, Peer Educator
Photo Cred:Photo by Richard Potts