Rape Crisis UK has a fantastic page about myths connected with Rape. Their introductory paragraph is perfect:
“Rape and sexual violence are understandably topics many people find difficult to talk about. But this contributes to a society in which myths and misinformation are common. Myths are also fuelled by ill-informed or unbalanced media reporting of sexual violence-related stories.” https://rapecrisis.org.uk/mythsvsrealities.php
Yep. It’s very difficult to talk about rape – that’s why most of my family and friends still don’t know that I was raped in the year 2000. It’s taken almost 17 years for me to speak out.
But I tell you the thing that really gets my goat. People saying that women make up false allegations of rape. DID ANYONE EVER TELL YOU NOT TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ IN THE PAPERS?
Honestly, the processes you have to go through. They have whole teams of people working on this stuff. In comes a domestic violence expert – they can spot a mile off who’s telling the truth because they live this, day in, day out. I remember the DV woman sitting there nodding at my entire story. you’re not telling me that someone could MAKE UP an entire rape story and be credible in front of someone who hears the same stuff every day?
The precise problem is that people who haven’t experience abuse are the ones who have trouble understanding it. Then there is managing to articulate yourself.
Let’s look at some actual facts rather than gossip, shall we?
The Criminal Justice System Statistics reveal that out of 1000 rapes, 994 rapists will walk free. Check that out. 6 convictions out of 1000. No wonder the police turned me away. Shocked? Well here’s another: 2 in 3 acts of sexual violence go totally unreported to the police.
Of the sexual reports NOT reported to the police, the majority of those cited the reason why as fearing retaliation from the rapist. Yes, it’s a big deal. Next up was the belief that the “police would do nothing”. Brilliant. I can concur with both of these opinions.
It drives me potty when people say that women falsely report rapes. I have heard TEACHERS claim that this is true.
Open your eyes. Everyone, please just open your eyes.
Because by spreading these myths, you are preventing an open and truthful dialogue from those who have experienced sexual violence, and denying the very real trauma experienced by survivors.
Worse still, in not truly listening to a victim of rape, you cause that victim to repeat the abuse by feeling unheard, as though their felt experience is somehow wrong.
It’s human nature for people to have an opinion on everything, but honestly, if you don’t know about sexual violence, start reading, start paying attention, because you never know when someone might disclose to you, and you need to be absolutely 100% there for the victim.
It makes me very angry that even people who think they understand that rape is a bad thing actually don’t. Paying lip service to it. Try empathising with the victim. It’s the same as bullying in schools – banging the 2 kids’ heads together as though lumping blame on the victim never solved anything.
The thing is, finding out about what any form of abuse is like, especially sexual violence, could save someone’s life and prevent future attacks. The problem is, no one in their right minds who has to experienced abuse would go as far as to truly empathise with it because it’s too disturbing. Thus we are left with survivors speaking out, telling enough individual stories until people have assimilated enough evidence through examples to hit home with some of the key concepts.
Until you’ve seen a person you think you know do the Jekyll and Hyde routine, I can understand the layperson’s opinion. Trouble is, there are too many laypeople around and a layperson is NO USE to a victim of rape whatsoever. We need laypeople to get clued up and to see these myths for what they are – myths!