Police ‘mythbusters’ tackle sexual assault stories

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