Breaking the Hold by Smith and Woolacott
Following all the “correct” standards for a virtuous woman does not necessarily provide protection from rape. The most common characteristic among rape victims is vulnerability. Reasons for vulnerability include the inability to defend oneself; physical limitations such as confining clothes, handicaps, fears; or environmental circumstances such as getting off work at 2 a.m.
Myth: Women enjoy being raped.
Fact: The idea that women could possibly enjoy forced sexual intercourse is a male fantasy which confuses rape with sex, instead of violence. The idea that rape is comparable to sex between consenting people is as preposterous as suggesting that food is enjoyed whether rammed violently down one’s throat or eaten normally at dinner.
Myth: Women ask for it.
Fact: Even using a mere gesture or way of dressing as the scale to measure provocation on the part of the raped woman, the Federal Commission on Crimes of Violence report, only 4% of reported rapes involved any precipitative behavior on the part of the woman. Our society entices and rewards women to appear sexually attractive but those unlucky enough to be raped are condemned as ‘deserving it’.
These myths make a woman feel responsible and unprepared for an assault. They also justify and condone the offender’s actions. As for society, the collective judge, it passes sentence on this distorted view of reality
Moving through the myths and realities that support sex-role stereotyping, we can uncover two differences that do distinguish men from women. Women carry and give birth to children and men, on the average, are a little heavier and taller than women. Around these facts have grown whole cultures in which men have varying degrees of power, both collectively and individually, economically, politically and physically. In contrast, women are relatively powerless.
The rape situation is an enactment of this unequal power relationship. Reinforcing all this are the myths surrounding rape, that reflect the attitudes and values held and passed on by the majority of people.
Myth: Rape is a sex crime committed by men with uncontrollable sex drives.
Fact: Rape is a crime of aggression committed by men who want to dominate, degrade and compel physical intimacy on unwilling women. Most rapes are not spontaneous but planned ahead of time.
Myth: Rapists are usually sick, perverted and/or sexually unfulfilled men.
Fact: Rapists are no different than the average man, physically, sexually or psychologically. Most have a greater tendency to express violence and rage more openly. Many are married and /or have “normal” sexual relationships.
Myth: Rape happens outside in dark, isolated places.
Fact: The majority of rapes happen in either the victim’s or rapist’s home, with the next most common location being the rapist’s car.
Myth: Rapist and victim are strangers to each other.
Fact: In over half of the known cases the rapist is known to the victim in varying degrees of familiarity- from a trusting initial meeting to a close family friend or relative.
Myth: A woman cannot be raped by her husband.
Fact: Women ARE raped by their husbands, but only in January, 1983 was this legally recognized.
Myth: “Nice” girls don’t get raped.
Fact: All females from children to old women, are potential rape victims.