Myths about rape criteria

“It is not rape unless…”

Some myths give us false criteria for defining rape or sexual assault. For example:

“She didn’t even struggle or fight back, so she must have wanted it.”

“All that she needed to do was give a firm ‘no’.”

While fighting back and screaming “no” do indicate rape, a rape can have occurred even when these things don’t happen. In situations where a person is being violated or victimized it is a normal physical reaction for people to freeze up in fear.  Also, the responsibility is on the party who is advancing the sexual acts to get consent, and if they do not get that consent, including situations where someone doesn’t explicitly say “no” or fight back, they are guilty of sexual assault and/or rape.