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Experiences of survivors of sexual assault

April 18, 2013

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Women @ Noon program is offering a session that will focus on the best ways to support survivors of sexual assault.

Wednesday, April 24
Noon-1 p.m.
Lory Student Center
Room 220

In this Women @ Noon program, we'll:

  • review common myths surrounding sexual assault,
  • hear the experiences of primary and secondary survivors, and
  • discuss strategies for responding to or supporting someone who discloses that they are a survivor.

Presented in connection with with Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and CSU's Women and Gender Advocacy Center is hosting a whole month full of workshops, programs, and events that raise awareness about sexual violence. All events are free and open to the public!

This year’s keynote will be author and activist, Jessica Valenti, who will be speaking on Monday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the LSC Theatre.

Some myths and facts

MYTH: Sexual assault is provoked by the victim. Victims ask for it by their actions, behaviors, or by their dress.

FACT: Studies indicate that the majority of sexual assaults are at least partially planned in advance.  Sexual assault is not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion.  It is a violent attack on an individual using sex as a weapon to defile, degrade, and destroy a victim’s will and control over her or his body. For the victim, it is a humiliating, traumatizing situation.

MYTH: Only certain kinds of women get sexually assaulted. Only “bad girls” get sexually assaulted.

FACT: Rapists choose their victims without regard to physical appearance. Victims are of every type, age, race, moral persuasion, and socioeconomic class.  Ages of reported victims range from 6 months to 93 years old.

MYTH: “Roofies” like GHB and Rohypnol are the most common date rape drugs.

FACT: Alcohol is the number one date rape drug used to gain control and power over the victim.

MYTH: Women frequently cry “rape” (i.e., there is a high rate of false reporting).

FACT: FBI findings indicate that only 2% of rape calls are false reports. While some victims later recant, it’s important to remember that there are lots of reasons why victims of sexual assault never even report the crime or may be influenced to rescind initial accounts.

MYTH: It’s not rape unless the victim is threatened with a gun or a knife.

FACT: Sexual assault is defined as any unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual activity without the consent of or against the will of another person. This definition includes acts which may occur while the victim is subjected to threats (to career, reputation, family, etc.), under the influence of drugs, or otherwise unable to give consent.

MYTH: Sexual assault occurs only among strangers.

FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows.  An overwhelming number of victims had encountered or been acquainted with the perpetrator in some way; according to, 70% of all rape and sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

In many of the cases, the perpetrator was a close personal friend, a member of the family, or a friend of the family.  When considering this figure, it’s important to remember that these studies deal with reported cases of forcible sexual assault and that a survivor is more apt to report being sexually assaulted by a stranger than to press charges against a “friend” or relative.

Myths and facts courtesy of the Sexual Assault Advocate Center.

Contact: Women and Gender Advocacy Center
Phone: (970) 491-6384