THE New Zealand Police see many – too many – incidents of sexual assault and they also hear some challenging stories to go along with them.
Here are just a few of the sexual assault mythbusters NZ Police has come up with to counter misinformation:
Myth: Sexual assaults are only committed by strangers.
Fact: The majority of people who commit sexual assaults know their victims and in some cases are relations, friends or work colleagues. Partners and spouses can also commit sexual assaults.
Myth: Rape is a ‘spur of the moment’ act.
Fact: Most rapists plan in advance, and set up situations so the rape can take place. A rapist is capable of raping again and again.
Myth: Rape only happens when offenders lose their self-control.
Fact: Those who rape know exactly what they are doing. Research shows that those who sexually offend often do so to gain a sense of power and authority.
Myth: A person can’t be raped by their spouse or partner.
Fact: Rape in relationships is not uncommon. It’s also a crime. When a spouse is forced to have sex through emotional or financial blackmail it is rape.
Myth: It is not that serious. I don’t need to report it as it won’t happen again.
Fact: Rape and/or sexual assault are criminal offences which carry sentences of imprisonment. The perpetrator may reoffend if they are not challenged by Police.
Myth: Victims of sexual assault ‘ask for it’ by the way they dress or behave.
Fact: This is like saying that someone wants to be robbed because they have money in their wallet. Nobody asks to be hurt or degraded.
Myth: Only young people are raped.
Fact: Rape is an act of violence that can happen at any time in a person’s life regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.
Myth: Men cannot be sexually assaulted.
Fact: Any unwanted sexual contact against any person by any other person is a sexual assault.
Myth: Male rape is a gay crime.
Fact: Sexual assault is ultimately about power, control or domination of the other person, rather than a sexual attraction to one specific gender.
Myth: Victims lie about rape.
Fact: Victims are more likely to deny or minimise sexual assault experiences than make them up.
Myth: Alcohol causes rape.
Fact: Alcohol can reduce inhibitions but does not remove the responsibility of raping, or justify a victim being assaulted. ‘Having sex’ with a person too drunk to consent, or asleep or unconscious, is rape.
SOURCE: New Zealand Police