Prevalent Myths

(far from exhaustive)


Myth: Rape is perpetrated by strangers in dark alleys/jumping out of bushes.  

Reality: most rapes are perpetrated by an acquaintance/friend of the survivor - at Harvard, that means a fellow student, in a dorm, house or final club.  

Myth: Rape is about sex. 

Reality: rape is not about sex. Rape is a form of violence and domination. 

Myth: Being assaulted is avoidable if you _____ (e.g. don't get drunk/don't wear provocative clothing/"wear sneakers").   

Reality: survivors cannot prevent rape, and it is not the responsibility of the survivor to have prevented their assault. 

Myth: _____ can't be a survivor.

Reality: there are survivors of all gender identities/sexual orientations/races/ethnicities.  

Myth: Being intoxicated somehow excuses the perpetrator or inculpates the survivor. 

Reality: Only 30% of rapists nationally report being intoxicated during the planning of or the act of a rape. Regardless of whether this number is higher on college campuses, intoxication is not an excuse for a violent crime. No behavior, including drinking, is ever an invitation to rape. 

Compiled from sources below. 

Further Resources

These links give a sampling of rape myth catalogues out there. Our Harvard absolutely does not endorse everything on these pages, especially the prevalence of heteronormative and cis-normative framings.