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FOR RELEASE: April 21, 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Reveal the Myths about Rape
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

An estimated 84 percent of rapes go unreported. This nearly unimaginable number emphasizes the need for sexual assault awareness activities, particularly this month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

In 2000, the National Violence Against Women survey by the National Institute of Justice reported that an estimated 302,000 women and 93,000 men are raped every year. These victims often face physical injuries and mental health problems, including depression.

To help counter some of the misinformation surrounding sexual assault, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is partnering with the Oklahoma Coalition Against

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault this month to help educate Oklahomans about some of the most common myths and truths about rape, including the following:

Myth: Rape doesn’t happen often.
Truth: One out of every six adult women has been a victim of rape.

Myth: Men can’t be raped.
Truth: About 92,700 men are raped each year in the United States.

Myth: Rape is only committed by strangers.
Truth: Two-thirds of rape victims report a prior relationship with the offender.

Myth: Women lead men on. Sometimes they are just asking to be raped.
Truth: No one ever asks to be raped, regardless of how the person dresses or acts.

Myth: Rape is “no big deal”.
Truth: About one in three women who are injured during a rape or physical assault require medical care.

Myth: A woman can’t be raped against her will. Anyone can stop rape if they really want to stop it.
Truth: Anytime someone forces sexual activity, it is rape.

Myth: A person who has been sexually assaulted will be hysterical.
Truth: There is no “right way” to react to sexual assault.

Myth: I don’t know anyone who has ever been raped.
Truth: Rape victims are doctors, lawyers, nurses, military personnel, cooks, accountants, or anyone.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence and needs immediate help, contact your local 911 emergency services. In addition, there are two national hotlines that can be of immediate assistance: the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE) and the National Domestic Abuse hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

For information about preventing rapes and building healthy relationships, visit the following Web sites: the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, or the Oklahoma State Department of Health Sexual Assault Prevention Education Program.

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