April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an uncomfortable subject for many of us to think about. Yet it is very important to learn about sexual assault, especially since there are so many myths about it, myths that victimize people ever further after an attack.
Myth: Rape and sexual assault are crimes of passion and cannot be stopped.
Truth: According to the World Health Organization, rape and sexual assault are crimes of power and dominance, often used as a tool of control over the victim. Sexual assault may occur under a number of different circumstances, usually involves an acquaintance of the victim and always involves lack of consent on the part of the victim.
Myth: Sexual assault isn’t that common, so we don’t need to focus on it.
Truth: According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 10 women and 1 in 45 men have been raped by a partner during their lifetimes. Eight in ten rapes are committed by people known to the victim, and 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they reach adulthood. Of those who experience sexual assault, 81% of women and 35% of men will suffer from aftereffects such as PTSD.
Myth: Most sexual assault reports are false.
Truth: Sexual assaults are reported at roughly the same rate as for other crimes. That rate is between 2% and 10%, with fewer false reports linked to better classification of police reports. The confusion with “false” reportage has to do with how FBI data classifies “baseless” and “unfounded” reports together – baseless are genuinely false reports, while unfounded reports may in fact be real but lack certain key pieces of evidence in a legal sense – i.e., they cannot be tried in court even though the incident occurred.
Myth: If it was really sexual assault, the victim would act upset.
Truth: Sexual assault is assault – it’s a form of serious trauma that can affect victims in a number of ways. It is not unusual for a victim to seem numb or disconnected, nor for victims to blame themselves for their own assault. These sensations are part of the coping process, which can also include anger, fear, guilt and an inability to live life as normal.
Myth: Victims might “deserve” to be assaulted because of the way they dress.
Truth: We are all human beings deserving of love, compassion and respect. A person’s clothing does not signify that they should be raped, or that they “asked” to be assaulted. An exhibition at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut displayed recreations of the clothes that rape victims were wearing at the time of their assault – these articles of clothing included jeans and workout clothes.
Throughout the month of April, the campus will be hosting a series of virtual events as a way to spread awareness about sexual assault. The IU East Campus Library urges you to participate virtually in these endeavors.
All month long: #IUE30DaysofSAAM
Respond to Instagram posts regarding Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Students with an IU East Crimson Card will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Crimson Card credit
Tuesday, April 7:Teal Tuesday
Wear teal to show your support, share it with #IUETealTuesday and tag @IUEastTitleIX
Wednesday, April 15, 12:00-12:30: Empowerment Yoga
Participate in a two-way yoga flow meant to empower you. Access via Zoom: iu.zoom.us/j/801524941
Wednesday, April 29:Denim Day
Wear your jeans proudly to dispel myths about sexual assault, share online with #IUEDenimDay and tag @IUEastTitleIX
IU East is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all its students. If you have any questions or concerns about sexual assault on campus, contact IU East Deputy Title IX Coordinator Tracy Amyx, or access IU resources at the campus Title IX page, or at Stop Sexual Violence. Also, every Monday in April, check out the IU East Campus Library blog for more informational resources on sexual assault. If you would like assistance locating reliable information resources, you are welcome to Ask Us firstname.lastname@example.org