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Part of: Rape culture and consent

"They lied about it"

Myth: In the media, we often hear that people “lie” about being raped because they want attention or are seeking revenge.

Busted: Almost everyone who reports rape is telling the truth. As an example, where we are in the UK, only 0.62% of rapes that get reported are untrue. While it’s common for survivors to find it hard to remember all of the details of the sexual assault, this does not mean that they are lying. It is difficult for the brain to remember traumatic events, either because the survivor disassociated to protect themselves, because of drugs or alcohol… In general, memories of traumatic events only contain a few key details. This is normal. You do not have to prove you were violated to yourself by listing through each detail, or be severely injured to know what happened to you is true. It takes incredible courage for survivors to come forward and to seek justice for what has happened- to expose yourself to disbelief or judgment. The majority of people who report sexual assault will always be telling the truth.

Myth: Rape accusations are often used as a way of getting back revenge and can’t be taken seriously.

Busted: Less than 1% of rape prosecutions are for making false allegations. This misconception enforces stereotypes of victims, trivialises victims’ experiences and may make it difficult for them to seek support for fear of being dismissed.

Myth: When it comes to sex, women and girls give out mixed signals. They sometimes 'play hard to get' and say 'no' when they really mean 'yes'.

Busted: Everyone has the legal right to say 'no' to sex and to change their mind at any point of sexual contact. If the other person doesn't stop, they are committing sexual assault or rape. When it comes to sex, we must check in with our partners, respect their wishes, and believe what they tell us about what they do and don't want.

Myth: You can tell if they’ve ‘really’ been raped by how they act.

Busted: Reactions to rape and sexual assault are highly varied and individual, and many experience a form of shock after it that leaves them emotionally numb or flat. There is no ‘one size fits all’ reaction to rape.