MSCASA - Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

What should I do if I or someone I know has been raped?

It is very important to take care of yourself after a sexual assault. For information about your question see the section called If you have been raped.

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Rape is just unwanted sex, isn’t it?

Rape is a crime that involves the use of power and control. The penis and other body parts or objects are used as weapons to intimidate the victim. It is sexual activity without one’’s consent and it is against the law.

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Can you be raped by someone you know?

According to statistics approximately 68% of all rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. You can be raped by your husband, partner, relatives, coaches, teachers, neighbor and clergy. You can be raped by anyone. (Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics U.S. Department of Justice, 1977).

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Do women provoke rape by the way they dress or act?

The responsibility of a sexual assault always lies with the offender. No one can make another person attack him or her by the way they look or act.

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I was drinking before I was raped, so is it my fault?

While it is important to keep yourself safe, you are not to blame for the sexual assault.

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I did not fight back during my assault and the person did not use a weapon; will people blame me?

No one has the right to judge what you did or did not do during a sexual assault. Anything you did to survive was the right thing to do. Many people do not fight back due to fear, shock or the perception that fighting will lead to even greater harm.

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Can men be raped?

Men and boys can be victims of sexual assault. There were approximately 20,000 reported sexual assaults of males ages 12 and over in the United States in 1991. (Bureau of Justice, 1992).

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Are children and teenagers also victims of sexual assault?

Teens 16 to 19 were three and one-half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted Rape or Sexual Assault.  In addition, one in two rape victims is under age 18; one in six is under 12. (U.S Department of Justice)

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Can prostitutes be raped?

Anyone can be raped. Prostitutes have a right to say no to unwanted sexual activity. Vulnerable members of society are often victims of sexual assault.

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Is it a good idea to report to the police?

A person's decision to report or not to report to the police is a personal one. You have the right to report to the police if you are a victim of a crime. You should decide what feels best for you. If you have any questions, consult a local rape crisis or crime victims program.

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Will most people "be over" the rape in a few months?

The time it takes to heal from a sexual assault varies from person to person. Many times after an assault, the survivor may block painful feelings and memories associated with the rape. If the survivor feels judged or is made to feel at fault for the rape, this may also complicate the healing process. It is important that the survivor find supportive people to help with the process.

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I have heard about "date rape drugs." What are they?

The drugs you are referring to are Rohypnol (also known as "roche" or "roofies") and GHB (gamma hydroxbutyrate). There are many others, but these are the most common. Rohypnol is a strong sleeping pill and GHB is often available in clear liquid form. Both drugs are not sold legally in this country. These drugs can be placed in a drink without the drinker’’s knowledge and can make you unable to consent or resist. If you believe that you have been drugged, contact a local rape crisis program or the police so you so you can be tested for the presence of these drugs. It is important to get a urine test as soon as possible because the drugs cannot be detected after a certain period of time. However, alcohol is the most common Date Rape drug.

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Can you tell if someone is a rapist?

Unfortunately no - anyone can be a rapist.

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Do women file false reports of rape?

The rate of false reports of rape is 2% to 3%, no different than that of other crimes. (Writing and Reading About Rape: A Primer. 1993. Lynn Hecht Schafram. St. John’’s Law Review, Vol. 66, 4, p.p. 979-1045).

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