Rape and sexual coercion


Implicitly, women are partially blamed if they are raped. In most cases, this puts women off pressing charges.

Even today, public awareness of rape is still fraught with many prejudices and misjudgements. This often results in taboos and extenuations as well as reproaches and accusations against the women concerned through their social environment and/or the authorities. Respective social views often prevent women from talking about rape and reporting the crime to the police. By contrast, perpetrators are encouraged by these myths and prejudices.


Myth: "Only young, attractive women or those who dress or act provocatively are raped."

No! Any girl and woman can become a rape victim regardless of her age, appearance, clothing, nationality or religion. There is no behaviour of girls and women which can justify rape. There is no behaviour, on the other hand, which can rule out rape.


Myth: "Women and girls want to be raped – or else they would defend themselves with all means possible."

No! Rape always happens against the woman’s will. It is not experienced as being sensual, but as a life-threatening danger involving acute fear of death. In many cases, this results in a state of shock, in which physical resistance becomes impossible. Moreover, forms of resistance are often not recognised as such – e.g. crying, begging and others.


Myth: "Rape is an aggressive form of sexual intercourse, which some women experience even as “lust-enhancing” or as particularly “virile“."

No! Women and girls experience rape as a full-on attack against their psychological and physical integrity (i.e. their entire person), as an existential threat and never as a sexual act.


Myth: "You can tell just by looking if a woman was “really” raped. She will be totally upset and will immediately talk about the crime."

No! After a rape, no conclusions can be drawn from a woman’s behaviour about her credibility. Each woman reacts individually and differently. Some are utterly desperate and distraught, others seem to be calm and composed or aggressive. There is no typical victim behaviour. Only very few women talk about the rape. Shame, fear and fear of accusations prevent them from confiding in those close to them or with external people, or pressing charges immediately after the incident.


Myth: "Many legal complaints because of rape are based on lies. Women press charges against men to damage them or take revenge."

No! According to the police, false accusations are extremely rare. It is much more frequent that women waive a legal complaint out of fear and shame. The more closely they are connected with or related to the abuser, the more rarely women report a rape to the police.


Myth: "Rape mostly happens in secluded parks or dark alleyways during the night, and is perpetrated by unknown attackers."

No! Two thirds of all rapes take place in the social environment of girls and women concerned, i.e. girls and women are most threatened where they feel most safe, namely in their family, with friends, at work or in their own homes.

The vast majority of perpetrators are previously (at least vaguely) known to the victims. They are friends, acquaintances, fathers, brothers, husbands and/or partners. Rape happens at any time of the day and night, and is planned.


Myth: "Rapists are "abnormal", mentally ill or "sexually disturbed". Rapes are sexually motivated sex offences."

No! More than 90% of rapists do not show any psychopathological abnormalities. There is no biological, psychological or physical cause, which could lead to a man not being able to control his sexual behaviour. There is no reliable scientific basis for proving that men are “dominated by their carnal instincts”. Rape is not sexually motivated but is, above all, an aggressively motivated act of violence. Sexuality is used as a means of humiliating women and girls, and of exerting power over them.


Myth: " At least in some cases, women bear part of the blame."

No! Everyone has a right to say no, regardless of the situation or the point in time. Even if a woman previously kissed the offender or has or used to have a sexual relationship with him, she has the right to say no at all times. In the event of rape, this right of girls and women is ignored. It is for this reason that the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator.