Since my attack it has become very apparent that everyone believes themselves to be experts in the field of rape. I have found that I am frequently hearing and reading a number of comments that are simply untrue. Please, don’t get me wrong, I understand that I am by no means an expert, but some of the statements I have come across I strongly feel needed to be corrected and explained.
Myth no. 1 – Rape is sex.
This is so untrue. Rape is not sex. Please feel free to argue but as far as I remember, sex is meant to be enjoyable. Sex is meant to be fun. But rape, rape is an act of violence, a life threatening experience. Sex is something I want to take part in but rape? Rape is something I wish never ever to experience again. Rape is traumatic.
Myth no. 2 – Support from family members is essential to a victims recovery.
This is a statement that has been proven to be untrue. I made the decision to keep my rape a secret from my family (unfortunately for me this was a decision that was taken out of my hands when my rapist decided to contact my dad). What is important when it comes to an individuals recovery is down to the individual. But what I can say is important to a persons recovery is that there is an absence of negativity. A sexual assult survivor has no room in their lives for negativity, victim blamining and hostility. So if that’s all you have to offer I suggest you keep it to yourself.
Myth no.3 – Men cant be raped.
In the UK 9,000 rape victims are men. That’s approximately 25 men being raped a day. And with sexual crimes being the most under reported crimes in the world it can be assumed that this number is much higher.
Myth no.4 – A man cant rape his wife –
This statement continues to shock me. Stating that a man cannot rape his wife is suggesting that a married woman does not have the same rights as an unmarried woman. Why does a married woman not have the right to say no? Why does she not have the right to her own body? Why does marriage take away her right to consent? It doesn’t. 14% of women who are victims of rape have been raped by their husbands.
Myth no.5 – If they don’t fight back they weren’t really raped.
There is no right or wrong way to react to being raped. For me I froze. No words passed my lips and my body didn’t move. I lay there, frozen by fear. Others, they fight, they fight back with every ounce of energy they can muster. Rape is scary and traumatic, its a life threatening experience. Whatever an individual does to survive is the right thing to do. The only time rape isn’t rape is when clear consent has been given.