When asked why they did not report their experience, most students who responded said they did not want to get the person responsible in trouble, or they blamed themselves. Sexual assault is a serious physical, emotional, and psychological crime and should be treated that way. When we talk about men being responsible in preventing sexual assault, we should remember that men are survivors too. Whether or not a person is drunk, the person initiating sexual activity must always have clear and unambiguous consent to do so. While it is true that the majority of perpetrators are men, this has more to do with how men are socialized, and how our society has constructed gender and masculinity, than biology. In fact, sex offenders are disproportionately likely to be heterosexual cis-gendered men. If people had more sexual opportunities, sexual assault would be less frequent. Orgasm is a natural biological reaction to physical stimulation that cannot always be controlled; it does not mean that forced or coerced sexual activity was consensual.
Why would they sexually assault someone when there are so many people who would want to be with them? SAPAC also provides services to friends, family, and colleagues of survivors, who are looking to learn more about how to be supportive and to connect a survivor to resources. Consent must be voluntarily given and cannot be obtained through coercion or force. Understanding the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault may help you in your recovery. The important thing to remember is that people cope with traumatic incidents in different ways. There are no statistics that support the idea that LGBT individuals are more likely to commit sexual assault or be sex offenders than heterosexuals or cis-gendered individuals. If people had more sexual opportunities, sexual assault would be less frequent. The survivor might feel their safety would be threatened if they end the relationship. Consent to engage in one sexual activity at one time is not consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage in the same sexual activity on a later occasion. Like many other crimes, sexual assault is about power and control. In fact, perpetrators often exploit these biological reactions as a way to convince both themselves and the survivor that the experience was consensual - when in reality it was not. When we talk about men being responsible in preventing sexual assault, we should remember that men are survivors too. Knowing how to respond is critical—a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where perpetrators face zero consequences for their crimes. The freeze response is a documented neurobiological condition also referred to as tonic immobility. Because many survivors knew the perpetrator before being assaulted, survivors may be trying to negotiate the conflicting thoughts and feelings they have about their perpetrator. In fact, sex offenders are disproportionately likely to be heterosexual cis-gendered men. Thus, sexual assault is not sex to the survivor — it is an act of violence. The long-dominant view of rape in America envisioned a brutal attack on a chaste white woman by a male stranger, usually an African American. Resources Sexual Assault Misconceptions Several misconceptions exist about sexual assault. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in any sexual activity each time it occurs. While it is true that the majority of perpetrators are men, this has more to do with how men are socialized, and how our society has constructed gender and masculinity, than biology. Research demonstrates that rates of false reporting are consistent across violent crimes, including sexual assault. Policies on sexual harassment make normal flirtation a crime. Perpetrators often use the excuse of how the survivor dressed or acted as way to avoid taking responsibility for their own criminal sexual behavior. Either party at any point can withdraw consent. This does not mean the sex is consensual.
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