Inaccurate beliefs about sex- and gender-based violence are common. Let’s talk about some of these myths, and more importantly – let’s find out what’s really going on.
Myth: Violence like sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking doesn’t happen that often.
Reality: College students across the country experience violence every day, and many will experience violence before they even get to college.
Myth: People make bad decisions and put themselves in situations where sexual assault might happen.
Reality: Someone is making a choice to harm another person who is vulnerable (if they’ve been drinking, for example). If you or someone you know experiences sex- and gender-based violence, know it’s not your fault and there are people on this campus and in our community who can help.
Myth: You can’t be victimized by your partner.
Reality: Sexual assault can happen within any relationship, whether people have been together for years or if they’ve just started seeing each other. Sex without consent is sexual assault, even if two people have had consensual sex in the past.
Myth: It’s unlikely that anyone I know would sexually assault someone.
Reality: Anyone, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, or other characteristics, can perpetrate violence. Sometimes they’re our friends, our family, or the people we sit next to in class.
Myth: Most people are sexually assaulted by strangers.
Reality: Sexual assault most often occurs between people who know each other. Situations involving strangers committing sexual assault do happen, but they’re rare on college campuses. Most of the time, sexual assault occurs between people who know each other, and in situations where people feel like they are safe (apartments, residence halls, houses, parties, etc.)
Myth: Violence is inevitable, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.
Reality: Everyone can do something to prevent violence! For example, you can:
- Intervene when we see or overhear someone perpetuating myths about sex and gender-based violence.
- Take the opportunity in your next class to write a paper about sex and gender-based violence.
- Attend a violence prevention workshop. You can even bring a friend or two!
- Get to know the staff and student groups at the WSU Women’s Resource Center!
- Have discussions with friends about ways everyone can help prevent sex and gender-based violence!
- Support survivors of violence.
- Take care of yourself! Because sometimes, the enormity of this issue can seem overwhelming.
Stay tuned this semester to learn more about how you can make our community safer. You can also subscribe to receive email updates about our collaborative prevention efforts.