K to 12 Workers Family and friends Survivors

Common beliefs about rape

Home: Survivors: For Teenagers: Going too far

MYTH - Women and girls enjoy being raped.
FACT - Rape is a degrading, humiliating and painful experience which no girl enjoys. Some rape victims go through years of trauma, nightmares and suicidal feelings. Nobody enjoys being raped.

MYTH - Men have no control when they are sexually aroused.
FACT - This is an excuse that many men have used, in the same way that they use alcohol as an excuse. 'I couldn't help it, I got carried away...' Men can control themselves and must be responsible for their sexual behaviour. The girl is never responsible for what the rapist does.

MYTH - Girls who hitchhike are asking to be raped.
FACT - Girls, like boys who hitchhike, are asking only for a lift.

MYTH - Only sexy girls get raped.
FACT - The rapist is not looking for someone sexy, he is looking for a victim. He wants someone who is frightened of him. What you look like is not important.

MYTH - Nice girls don't get raped.
FACT - 'Nice' girls are often brought up to be the perfect victims for rapists. Nice girls don't yell, hit back, or hurt anyone. They keep secrets.

MYTH - Your clothing (or lack of it) is often the reason for rape.
FACT - What you are wearing has nothing to do with why you are raped. Many girls are raped in their school uniforms or pyjamas. If a man wants to rape you, he will not be looking at what you're wearing. He doesn't see you as a person, but an object that he can use or abuse.

MYTH - Most rapists are dirty old men or escaped mental patients.
FACT - Most rapists are aged between 15 and 45, though many older men rape too. Rapists are very often married or have girl friends. They will be someone's father, grandfather, brother, husband, uncle, boyfriend or acquaintance. They could be architects, doctors, teachers, plumbers, truck drivers, unemployed or retired. They are 'normal' men.

MYTH - You are more likely to be raped if you go to parties or pubs.
FACT - Most rapes take place in the woman's home, or the rapist's home. Rapes are most often planned, and in 80% of cases, the rapist knows the victim.

MYTH - Girls usually get raped between the ages of 14 and 25.
FACT - Girls as young as 18 months and women as old as 96 have been raped. Girls and women are potential rape victims at any age. The rapist is not looking for someone young or sexy. He's looking for someone who's afraid.

MYTH - Rape is a hideous crime and victims get justice through the law.
FACT - It is estimated that only one in twenty rapes in Australia is reported to the Police and there is an overall conviction rate of about 5%.

MYTH - Girls only say it is rape if they feel guilty about having sex.
FACT - There are no more false reports of rape to the police than any other crime. Most rapes go unreported because the rapist is known or even related to the victim, and she's too embarrassed or frightened to report him.

MYTH - Only females get raped.
FACT - Boys are also raped, usually by heterosexual men, but they are unlikely to report it because of fears of being seen as homosexual, or abnormal. Boys who are raped experience the same kind of humiliation and distress as girls.

MYTH - Women who are raped are scarred for life.
FACT - Women do survive rape physically and emotionally, and in the process can become stronger, more self-respecting and aware.

MYTH - Most girls say 'no' when they mean 'yes'. They just want to know if a man is strong and can get what he wants.
FACT - When a girl or woman says no, she means no.

MYTH - Men rape because they are desperate for sex, their wives are frigid or they can't get a girlfriend.
FACT - Men rape because they want power and control over someone weaker than themselves. They use their penis as a weapon to control and humiliate their victim. They rape because their own lives are inadequate and unfulfilled. They do not rape for sexual satisfaction. Most rapists do not enjoy the sex, they say things like "I didn't enjoy the sex, just the fear in her eyes. " Rapists often don't ejaculate.

Return to top


Department of Human Services

The South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria. We pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.