A myth is defined as “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution” (Dictionary.com).

There are a lot of myths surrounding rape and rape victims. This is part of the reason why so many survivors choose not to disclose or report what happened to them. So why do so many myths surround sexual violence victims?

Myths and stereotypes are attempts to understand or explain what is happening in the world around us. For many of the general public, the idea that they too are at risk of being a victim of sexual violence is too difficult to accept. Instead of accepting this risk, some choose to find ways of blaming the victim for what happened to them. Rape myths therefore allow people to distance themselves from threat.

These myths have been fuelled by missreporting and representation in our media.

Rape myths are very useful to perpetrators and defence barristers and can be used to discredit victims. This can be incredibly damaging to survivors. They can exasperate feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame. They reduce the chances of survivors opening up about their experiences due to fears that they will not be believed or be judged for what happened to them. 

Rape is NEVER the fault of the victim and ALWAYS the fault of the perpetrator.