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Part of: Rape culture and consent

"They asked for it"

Myth: If someone is raped while they are drunk, they are at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control.

Busted: If someone is raped while they are drunk, the responsibility is still that of the attacker. If someone is drunk, they may not be able to give clear consent. The responsibility lies with the person who is with them to realise they cannot give consent, so should stop what is happening. Alcohol and drugs are often used by perpetrators to make someone vulnerable or shift the blame from their actions: this is a tool used to make victims helpless, unable to give proper consent. In most laws, consent must be fully and freely given in situations of a sexual nature - by someone fully able to do so. If you are unconscious or confused by drugs or alcohol, you are not able to give legal consent. The person to blame is the one committing the crime, whatever the conditions - them being drunk is also not a reason to touch you.

Myth: The victim “asked for it” by being seductive, careless or dressed “inappropriately”.

Busted: No one asks to be abused, injured or humiliated. This line of thought puts the blame on the survivor rather than on the abuser who chose to commit a crime. Individuals of all ages, walks of life and backgrounds can be survivors and not one of them chose through their own actions for their assault to take place. Nobody dresses or behaves to invite rape. Nobody leaves their house hoping to be touched or assaulted. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of how they dress or their previous behaviour. Rape is never the victim’s fault and the victim’s appearance or behaviour never excuse sexual assault.

Myth: When someone says “no” they really mean “yes”.

Busted: Yes means Yes and No means No. There is no other acceptable understanding of consent. Silence does not equal consent and only a “yes” given without pressure is valid consent for sexual activity. If you are ever unclear about someone’s wishes, always clarify.

Myth: Agreeing to something sexual means that person agrees to everything else.

Busted: Consenting to one thing doesn’t mean someone has automatically agreed to do other activities. Checking for consent should be an ongoing conversation.