The cases of violence against women has risen and continues to rise each passing day. Rapes, sexual assaults, molestation, eve-teasing are some of the most common crimes witnessed on streets and elsewhere. More often than not the men-in-khakhee delay and deny to file an FIR, whereas politicians are seen passing vague and insensitive remarks on rapes. There are several myths and misconceptions about a rape; from a woman inviting rape through their dressing style to those who commit the crimes are overcome by passion. However, nothing could be farther from truth. We list seven popular myths about rape, its implications and facts.
Myth 1: Women provoke rape by the way they dress or act
The myth attempts to excuse rape by ‘blaming the victim’ and assumes that a woman who draws attention is looking for sex or ‘deserves what she gets’. However, dressing attractively and even flirting is not an invitation not for rape.
Myth 2: Rape occurs between strangers in dark alleys
The myth implies that rape can be prevented by avoiding certain places and also implies that home is safe. It also entrenches widely held racial and class prejudices like rape or sexual violence is common in slums or shanty towns. However, majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim. The number of victims often getting raped in their homes or incest rapes are also high.
Myth 3: Rape is a crime of passion
This myth implies that rape is often impulsive and unplanned; assumes that rape is about uncontrollable lust and attempts to remove the responsibility for the rape from the rapist. However, most rapes are premeditated and planned. More than sexual pleasure, rapists often indulge in the sexual act to feel powerful and in-charge.
Myth 4: Women cry rape when they regret having sex or want revenge
It reinforces stereotypes of the rape victim as the ‘vindictive woman’. It puts a question mark on their claims of having been violated and undermines her support for seeking justice. Technically, a man having sex after luring a woman with the promise of marriage is rape in India, the number of women alleging rape after being ditched by their lovers is less compared to the total number of rapes that are reported.
Myth 5: Only gay men get raped or only gay men rape men
It creates the illusion of the safety for straight men and reinforces homophobic fears and prejudices. Consequently, very few cases of rape on men are reported. Fact is men of all sexual orientations get raped. Rapists rape other men as part of their violence and need for power, dominance and control.
Myth 6: Prostitutes can not be raped
It not only disempowers sex workers but also provides an excuse for the physical abuse. Fact is, prostitutes have the same rights like of any other person with regards to consent as anyone else.
Myth 7: If the victim didn’t complain immediately it wasn’t rape
A late complaint does not necessarily mean that its a false complaint. The trauma of rape can cause feelings of shame and guilt which might inhibit a victim from making a complaint.