Rape myths have been around for as long as rapes have been committed. Certain laws have only just recognised types of rapes, as actual crimes. Such as rapes in marriages, was in recent years still legal, and is still legal in various states and countries. This lack of law in which husbands are legally able to rape their wives, has encouraged rape myths, and is a good example of the male dominance experienced in almost every aspect of society. Feminists have argued that rape myths need to be abolished and myths need to be shattered and the truths exposed.
However with some studies undertaken that have shown that anywhere up to 8% of rapes is fabricated, the myths will continue to linger. Rape myths have had huge effects on how many rapes go unreported. Women often fear being labelled as wanting it, or lying and have become too scared to report attacks. Rape is a traumatic event that no one would volunteer to participate in; this applies to male rapes also. Male rapes are also poorly reported and rarely spoken of.
There is more focus on women being the victims of rape, as men are more likely to be victims of other types of crimes. There is no typical victim of rape, apart from the gander. And this is applied to offenders also. Although it is more frequent to be a victim in certain age groups, this could be attributed to the fact that 20 to 29 years old, those in the highest risk factor, are seen as being more active in their social lives, thus placing themselves in a more risky situation.
Offenders are almost always male, and once again there is no typical profile of an attacker. This makes it difficult for a woman to be aware of her surroundings. Whilst the deception of being raped in a dark alley after midnight, is possible of happening, as stated before rape victims were more likely to be aware of who their attacker is, and rarely in a situation where they would assume there is danger. There are many other rape myths besides the three main focuses in this assignment. Another common myth is that, where the woman says no she really means yes.
In a study conducted by the AIC, it was found that under this statement, only 54% of males disagreed. Whereas 82% of women disagreed. This is a small example of the differences in attitudes between men and women, and the misconceptions of rape. Another example of this is, when asked if; there is no behaviour on the part of woman that should be considered justification for rape, by gender. 36% of male strongly agreed, and 55% of females strongly agreed. Many rape myths blame the victim, and somehow justify the actions of the attacker.
This is a disappointment in out modern day society, but it a good signal to demonstrate how we still live in a very patriarchal society. Until rape is abolished as a sex crime, and rightfully placed as a crime of violence, then there will be misunderstanding what rape is truly about. Rape is about violence, dominance, and power. It is almost never about the sexual act itself. Rape myths have been developed by a society of men, to justify their actions of violence and to blame the victim. Until society is re-educated on rape, these myths will continue.
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