Myths and Misconceptions About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is still a taboo subject that many people do not talk about. There is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions that still exist about sexual assault and abuse, including confusion as to the rights of survivors. If you need clarification on any of these common myths, contact a sexual assault lawyer at DRZ Law for a free and confidential case consultation.

Most Sexual Assault Reports Are False

The number of false or fake sexual assault allegations each year is grossly exaggerated. This is an issue that has been exacerbated by a misunderstanding of the dynamics of sexual assault and poorly conducted studies. Many sexual assault allegations are misclassified as false reports by law enforcement, for example, despite clear criminal guidelines given by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In more accurate research studies, the rate of false sexual assault reports is very low, ranging from around 2 to 10 percent.

You Can’t Be Sexually Assaulted by a Spouse or Romantic Partner

This is not true; spousal rape is the same as an ordinary rape crime in every state. Charges can be brought against a perpetrator even if two parties were in a romantic or sexual relationship at the time of the assault or previously had consensual sexual intercourse. If the perpetrator did not obtain the victim’s consent to engage in sexual activity, it is classified as sexual assault regardless of the relationship between the two individuals. This includes married couples.

It Isn’t Sexual Assault if a Child or Teen Gives Consent 

Underage individuals cannot legally give their consent to engage in sexual activities. Any consent they do give is invalid and cannot be used as evidence of consent in a court of law. In Kansas, the age of consent is 16. Engaging in sexual activity with a person under the age of consent constitutes statutory rape.

If the Victim Didn’t Fight Back, it Wasn’t Sexual Assault

Many people live under the misconception that sexual assault must involve some type of physical conflict, fight, or violence between offender and victim. This is not the case. Many victims have a “freeze” response to being sexually assaulted, meaning they do not fight against the perpetrator because they are physically unable to move or speak. A lack of physical resistance does not equal consent. An incident where a victim does not move or fight back still constitutes sexual assault.

You Cannot File a Sexual Assault Claim Without Physical Evidence 

You do not need physical evidence of your attacker to file a sexual assault report or bring a sexual assault civil lawsuit. If you never went to the hospital or received a forensic sexual assault exam to collect DNA evidence from the perpetrator, this does not mean you have to stay silent. Sexual assault can be proven without physical evidence, such as through eyewitness accounts, testimony from other victims, photographs and video footage, a police report, incident reports, employment records, medical records, or a confession.

If You Didn’t Report it Immediately, You Don’t Have a Case 

It is normal for a victim of child sexual abuse to remain silent for many years and not report the abuse until decades later. Delayed reporting can occur for many reasons, including fear of retaliation, fear of not being believed, not having evidence to substantiate the claim, feelings of shame or guilt, or delayed discovery of child sexual abuse. No matter how much time has passed since you were sexually abused, it is never too late to take your power back and potentially protect other children in the future by coming forward and telling your story.

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