Fact and Fiction: Rape and Acquaintance Rape

Fiction: You only need to be careful around strangers.

Fact: Ninety percent of college women who are victims of rape or attempted rape know their assailant. The perpetrator is usually a classmate, friend, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. Acquaintance rape victims suffer the same psychological harms as stranger-rape victims. The majority of acquaintance rapes are not reported.

Fiction: I'm 18; I'm on my own. I know how to take care of myself.

Fact: College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of their first and second year.

Fiction: We were just partying.

party Fact: Seventy-five percent of male students and 55 percent of female students involved in acquaintance rape have been using drugs or drinking.

Fiction: Sexual assaults happen only in dark, isolated places.

Fact: Almost 60 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses happen in residence halls. (FBI statistic)

Fiction: Rape victims are always women.

Fact: Men can be raped. Up to 10 percent of acquaintance rape victims on college campuses are men. Even so, more than 90 percent of reported sexual assaults are committed by men against women. (Source: National Institute of Justice)

Fiction: By going to someone's room or house, you assume the risk of sexual assault.

Fact: No you don't. The responsibility for sexual assault rests with the offender. Even if you voluntarily enter someone's room, and even if you consent to some sexual activity, you have not, by extension, consented to all sexual activity.

The defining characteristic of sexual assault is force or threat of force.

Source for statistics, unless otherwise noted: Acquaintance Rape of College Students, by Rana Sampson, "Problem-Oriented Guides for Police," Preoblem-Specific Guides Series 17, August 2003