5 Common Myths about Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault: women, men, children, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. What follows are the most common myths surrounding these issues.
Victims who do not fight back have not been assaulted.
Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, is verbally or emotionally abused, or has been physically assaulted, they are a victim regardless of whether or not they fought back. There may be no bruises or signs of an attack, but that does not mean an attack has not taken place. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats, or the size and strength of the attacker.
It’s your fault if you are sexually abused – you deserve it.
Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.
Sexual assault only occurs in dark alleys or isolated places.
A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars, and offices.
Only evil people or criminals abuse children.
People who abuse children come from all walks of life. Often they appear trustworthy to adults and children to gain access to children. You cannot tell if someone abuses – or will abuse – children just by looking at them. People’s background, including their culture and childhood experience, may influence their propensity for abusing a child. Many cultures also have different views and laws related to child abuse and neglect. Some parents may not have the skills necessary to keep children safe and care for them sufficiently.
You can only report child abuse if you have proof.
If someone suspects child abuse, he or she can report it to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), anonymously if preferred. No physical evidence is required. A reasonable suspicion is enough to warrant a report. Call DCF at 800-842-2288.