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Myths and Facts About Sexual Assault

Myth: Sexual assault is about sexual desire.
Facts: While sexual acts are performed as part of the inappropriate behavior, Sexual Assault or Abuse is primarily about power and control. The person committing the assault or abuse makes a choice that what they want is more important than what the victim is willing or able to consent to.

Myth: Sexually violent or coercive acts by a stranger are a real crime; unwanted sexual advances by a friend, a date or an acquaintance isn’t really a crime.
Facts: Unwanted sexual contact, in any form, is a criminal act. Even when a child or teen seems to be a willing participant, in many situations the young person is not legally able to give consent, and those situations may be considered criminal acts as well.

Myth: Men who are sexually violated by other men are homosexuals.
Facts: When one man rapes another, the central issue is most often about power and/or humiliation, not sexual attraction.

Myth: When a person says “No,” often s/he means “Maybe.”
Facts: NO means NO. Any type of sexual contact with a person who does not give permission or can not give permission is a criminal act.

Myth: If your date is drunk or high, it’s okay to have sex with them so long as they don’t say “No”.
Facts: If a person is high or drunk they probably can’t give consent (even if they are not unconscious), so sex with them could be a crime. The best way to avoid problems is to talk about your relationship and intimacy while you are both sober, and then confirm your partner’s desire to be intimate before anything happens.

Myth: Women report rape to get revenge.
Facts: Rape is not a crime reported on a whim. Many victims DO NOT report because they are afraid of what others may say or think. They feel like what happened is their fault because they were drinking or they went someplace they had been ben warned could be dangerous. Some blame themselves because at one point they thought the offender was “cute” or “a nice guy” and was someone they might want to date. The fact is, it is far more likely for a victim NOT to report-to try to forget about it or act like it never happened- than it is for someone to make a false report about unwanted sexual contact.

For more information, visit Office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor SANE/SART Program