During discourse about rape and rape culture, people commonly cite what are called “rape myths” to justify victim blaming. A rape myth is a belief about rape (e.g. men only sexually assault young, sexually ‘attractive’ women) that is false and not substantiated in fact. They are harmful and promote the discrimination of sexual assault survivors. Rape myths are so prevalent in society that a lot of these myths pass as general knowledge and are often cited by media and public figures (uh-hem…Toronto police officer that sparked SlutWalk).
Rape myths serve to:
- blame victims for the offences committed against them
- protect offenders from the consequences of their actions
- reinforce the vulnerability of women and children.