Myths and Reality
Today still, there are many myths and prejudices about sexual assaults.
Some of them are:
Assailants are men with uncontrollable sexual desire or are mentally ill
This popular belief is one of the most tenacious prejudices. In fact, it's an act of domination. Most assailants have no mental health problem although some offenders plead insanity as a defence.
Most of the time, assailants are unknown to the victim
In 80% of the cases, they are close to the person. They often use manipulation, blackmail and threat as a strategy to get what they want.
The assailant is an 'ordinary', 'normal' man, just a man like any other man, a friend, a professional, someone in authority, a neighbour, a family member, a spouse or an acquaintance, regardless of religion, origin or social class.
Women bring sexual assaults onto themselves
The way a woman acts is not an invitation to assault, whether she is hitch-hiking, going out late at night, walking in a dark street, using drugs or alcohol, dressing in a sexy way or wanting to go out with a man. Women do not seek to be assaulted, humiliated or abused.
Women often accuse men falsely of sexual assault
The overall percentage of false accusations for all crimes is 2% and there is no reason to believe that it is any different for sexual assaults. The consequence of this prejudice, which is often heard, is to doubt the word of the victim, giving more power to the suspected assailant.
Rape is the only true sexual assault
In society, it is too often the degree of violence during the crime that determines what is a 'true' sexual assault. This negates the reality experienced by many women who are victims of exhibitionism, touching, harassment and incest, which are unfortunately referred to as less serious assaults.
Sexual assaults using a rape drug are carried out by strangers in bars and discos
It's not the most common of occurrences. The CALACS have met many women who were sexually assaulted using a rape drug at private parties where they felt totally safe. In fact, in 65% of the cases, the victims know the assailant. In the 'hit parade' list of rape drugs, alcohol is in first place, followed by cannabis.
If parents had a normal sex life, fathers would not commit incest with their daughters
By questioning a couple's sex life, you put the blame on the woman who is thus held responsible for a man's sexuality (responsible to satisfy him). Everybody is responsible for his or her own sexuality. Parents' sexual life has no bearing on incest.
An older woman cannot be victim of sexual assault
This is the most ingrained prejudice. Sexual assault is not caused by an uncontrollable sexual desire. It is an act of violence, of power and of domination.
The Quebec Coalition of Sexual Assault Centers (RQCALACS) and its members highlight, on Friday September 21st 2018, the 37th day of action on sexual violence against women by launching a new campaign: Ça me regarde!
C’est avec déception que nous avons pris connaissance du reportage où est diffusé un extrait d’une animation tirée du programme Empreinte – Agir ensemble contre les agressions à caractère sexuel. Le traitement médiatique qui a été réservé à ce thème délicat mais ô combien essentiel, met en lumière les défis que rencontrent les initiatives de prévention et de sensibilisation dans un contexte où les mythes et préjugés prennent parfois le dessus sur les droits de chacun et chacune de vivre une vie exempte de violence.
The Calacs launche the campaign #WeBelieveYou : « a plateform to commemorate the courage of thousands of women who at the time of the movement #BeenRapedNeverReported a year ago in November 2014 chose to tell their story or to denounce the sexual violence they had experienced. It is also a way to send a clear and unequivocal message to the victims: we believe you and to the relatives and loved ones: believe them», explains Nathalie Duhamel.
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Sexual exploitation and prostitution