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Sexual harm

Any sexual contact that occurs without consent is sexual assault. This is a form of violence and it is illegal. People of all genders can be victims or perpetrators of sexual assault. Sexual assault is always the responsibility of the person doing the harm.

There are many harmful myths in society that blame victims of sexual assault. We all have a responsibility to challenge these myths. Listed below are some common myths, and the facts that prove them wrong:

Myth: Sexual assaults are only committed by strangers.
Fact: The majority of people who commit sexual assaults know their victims and in some cases are relations, friends or work colleagues. Partners and spouses can also commit sexual assaults.

Myth: Rape only happens when men lose their self-control.
Fact: Men who rape know exactly what they are doing. Research shows that men who sexually offend often do so to gain a sense of power and authority.

Myth: It is not that serious. I don’t need to report it as it won’t happen again.
Fact: Rape and/or sexual assault are criminal offences which carry sentences of imprisonment. The perpetrator may reoffend if they are not challenged by Police.

Myth: Women 'ask for it' by the way they dress or behave.
Fact: This is like saying that someone wants to be robbed because they have money in their wallet. Rapists look for easy targets, not women who dress or behave in a particular way. Nobody asks to be hurt or degraded.

Myth: Only young women are raped.
Fact: Rape is an act of violence that can happen at any time in a person’s life regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender.

Myth: Men cannot be sexually assaulted.
Fact: Any unwanted sexual contact against any person by any other person is a sexual assault.

Myth: Women always lie about rape.
Fact: Women are more likely to deny or minimise sexual assault experiences than make them up. Those working with male sex offenders say one of the hardest things is overcoming the men’s denial that they did anything wrong.

Myth: Alcohol causes rape.
Fact: Alcohol can reduce inhibitions, but does not remove the responsibility of raping, or justify a victim being raped. ‘Having sex’ with a person too drunk to consent, or asleep or unconscious, is rape.

If you are needing support around sexual violence, click here for available support services:

Or check out further info in these sections of the app:

Have you been harmed?
Have you harmed someone else?
Is someone you care about unsafe?