Myths and Misconceptions About Sexual Harassment and Assault

Just like other acts of sexual violence, harassment and assault can cause victims to experience intense feelings of distress, pain, and shame.

Complicating the situation are the many myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual violence. These false ideas exacerbate the negative impact the assault has had on the lives of the victims, as well as their families and friends.

Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sexual assault, as well as the facts that can help dispute them:

MYTH: Sexual assault victims provoke their aggressors and abusers when they dress provocatively or act in a promiscuous manner

Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment are crimes committed solely by perpetrators on their victims. “Provocative clothing” and “promiscuous behavior” are subjective terms that shift the blame on the victims.

MYTH: People can avoid getting raped or assaulted if they avoid going into dark alleys and other dangerous places

Rape, harassment, and sexual assault can happen to anyone at any place and at any time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation noted that almost 70% of sexual assaults that are reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual.

MYTH: You can still have consensual sex even after drinking or taking drugs

A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot legally consent to sex. States like California enforce affirmative consent laws to protect vulnerable individuals, such as those who are asleep or otherwise incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, from sexual assault.

MYTH: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers – it’s not rape if the people involved knew each other

One of the most widespread myths about sexual assault and harassment is that rape happens between or among total strangers. In fact, most sexual assaults and rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

According to statistics, 51.1% of females report being raped by an intimate partner while 40.8% report being victimized by an acquaintance.

MYTH: Rape and sexual assault rarely occur and most rape cases turn out to be false accusations

This idea is patently false and can cause exceptional harm to victims.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) suggests that while sexual violence has fallen by half in the last 20 years, 68 Americans still get sexually assaulted every second. This means that 433,648 fall prey to sexual assault every year. Many more remain unreported.

MYTH: Men cannot be victims of rape, assault, harassment, and other forms of sexual violence

Sexual violence is a problem that not only affects women. RAINN notes that 3% of American men – or 1 in 33 – have been a victim of an attempted or completed rape and assault in their lifetime.

Rape, assault, harassment, and other forms of sexual violence are just some of the most traumatic things a person can go through. Not only is the experience degrading and alienating, it continues to manifest its effect on the victim in the form of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping and eating disorders, increased tendencies for substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide, as well as sexually-transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.

Because of this, it is extremely important that sexual assault victims be given professional and legal help in the quickest possible time.

Consult with Hogue & Belong for legal advice and remedies

Hogue & Belong is a San Diego-based law firm that can help can help survivors of sexual harassment and assault find justice.

Our success in obtaining full justice for our clients over the years stems from listening to the client’s needs and desired results, and working tirelessly to achieve those results. Our attorneys at Hogue & Belong are extremely experienced in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, as well as employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases, employment class action suits, and antitrust violation class actions.

We understand that no two cases are alike. We will listen to your concerns and answer all your questions honestly. After listening, we will explain the legal process and all options available to you. Once we have taken your case, you can expect to have open lines of communication with an attorney working directly on your case.

You can schedule a free and confidential consultation with our team of sexual harassment lawyers by calling us at 619.238.4720 or send a message to to find out if you are entitled to additional pay. 

Related Posts

What the ADA Means for Employed Persons with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects differently-abled workers and applicants from job discrimination. Under the law, persons with physical or mental impairments that substantially impact major life activities are protected from discriminatory...

California Laws on Restroom Breaks

Sufficient restroom breaks are important to the health and well-being of employees. California laws impose rules and standards for work breaks, including restroom breaks, in the workplace. Violations of these rules can affect work performance and result in loss of...

What the Law Says About Pregnancy Discrimination

The California Pregnancy Discrimination Act and  Fair Housing and Employment Act prohibit any form of pregnancy discrimination. These laws provide for the recovery of lost income and benefits as well as legal fees and costs incurred as a result of pregnancy...

Contact Us and Get a Free Consultation with the Hogue & Belong Law Team