Myths and Facts about Rape: You Should Know!!!
How do you report rape when the police don’t take you seriously? When they do not treat rape victims properly. Many of us might have come across the story of one Charlotte Campbell-Stephen; an Australian aid worker. After a brutal attack and sexual torture of over eight hours by a gang, she had to narrate the ordeal to the police who assured her that no one won rape cases in Kenya. Thola on the other hand, had to wait in the community service centre at a police station in South Africa, and then later on give her report in front of several people in a room. Stories like these are common as a great number of police officers are not trained in the right system to handle sexual assault or rape and many survivors do not know their rights in the same aspect.
All that is will be discussed later. Are you aware of the misconceptions regarding this topic that many women face? They exist due to several cultural or even historical reasons like gender role expectations; which make many victims remain silent. In order to confront a rape myth, you have to know the facts.
Myth: Rape and sexual assault are based on sexual attraction and gratification
Fact: If you are reading this and base your reasoning on this myth please use your tongue to touch your left ear. I mean it. This right here is absurd. Several elderly women have been reported to be raped by young men, in their houses. So, were they skimpily dressed enjoying a glass of wine or what? Toddlers too have not been left out of the target group by such unreasonable individuals. Rape and sexual assault are all about control and domination, not sex. Many people have sexual desires, but the question is how do we control them? Asking God for the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking and actions is a way to start.
Myth: Most people report rape or sexual assault to the police.
Fact: Let’s just be honest. The police do not treat these issues as important ones. They have never done so, and much has to be done so that they start it. Rape and sexual assault are two of the most underreported criminal crimes in our society; be it the United States or Asia or even my home country, Kenya. Looking into this topic, only 6% of rapists spend a day in jail. In Kenya, rapists are sentenced to slashing (mowing) the grass and judges call that punishment, or convicted for violent robbery instead of the real thing.
Myth: Not fighting back means an individual wasn’t really raped
Fact: Rape is a life threatening incident, above all, when a rapist uses a weapon or force to achieve penetration. I do not regard submission and cooperation as one thing. The appropriate action is whatever the victim does to survive.
Myth: Individuals who commit rape are mentally ill or psychotic and cannot help themselves.
Fact: Very few perpetrators are mentally incompetent and/or out of touch with reality. Rape may be planned or carried out by acquaintances, intimate partners, family members or strangers.
Myth: Only attractive women are raped
Fact: Do not believe this. Please. Anyone is vulnerable. Children, the elderly and even people with physical and mental disabilities are target groups. Rape is not about infatuation or uncontrollable lust but about control over another person and it’s an opportunistic act of violence.
Myth: When a woman dresses provocatively, she is asking for trouble.
Fact: No one asks to be abused or humiliated. Rapists simply look for easy, vulnerable targets. There is an important aspect to consider, though, that as ladies, we ought to dress appropriately, according to the respect we desire from others. This has raised questions from all dimensions of the society; church, communities, school among others. However, with all said and done, this line of thought blames the victim for what happened instead of the person behind the crime. Individuals from all ages, genders (especially females) and all walks of life have been targets of this unfortunate crime. None of them “caused” their assailant to do that.
Myth: When a woman says no, it really is a yes.
Fact: Let me break this down, into tiny bits that can fit into some people’s minds; YES means YES. This implies that someone is explicitly giving consent. Silence doesn’t mean consent. It is the responsibility of every individual initiating sexual activity to get consent at each level. If you aren’t sure, ask for clarification. If your partner responds with a No, respect his/her wish.
Myth: Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals deserve to be raped because of their lifestyle.
Fact: No one deserves to be raped! This is an excuse used by perpetrators who commit rape as a hate crime against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered individuals. This may not be in my scope of discussion but important to point out. Religiously, I am not up for the idea but they chose that lifestyle so some respect will do no harm.
By making the issue about sex and not violence sets this crime at being more acceptable and less severe. Be on the guard, take precaution on your friends, relatives, colleagues and please take some martial arts classes. It might come in handy.