On the whole, the group seemed relatively well-informed. They did not mistake putting on certain kinds of attire or hitchhiking to agreement to have sex. They were also aware that the law treats women and men in the same way when it comes to sexual assaults. Truthfulness of rape reports was not cast in doubt, neither was the agreement to petting equated to the agreement to have sex.
2. Despite this overall optimistic picture, a few items were still missed by the participants of the survey. For example, the respondents demonstrated being poorly informed about legal aspects of rape as a crime, expressing belief that bad sexual reputation can be used to create reasonable doubt in rape cases. In my view, this item was missed because people do not confront the juridical matters that often.
Item 14, most rapists are guys who have very little access to a willing partner, also was missed by some. In my view, the reason here is that media tend to portray rapists that are totally anti-social, like serial killers or sexual predators. This creates a myth that the rapist is almost always abnormal and may not have access to girls.
3. People fall for the victim-blaming myths because it provide psychological benefits to them. In the first place, they shake off the blame a raped woman can put on society that educates some men to express their dominance in such traumatic and cruel way. If one blames the woman, it is herself who is to blame, not the society that has failed to prevent the crime. For women, this blame helps them feel superior to the victim, asserting their virtue and wisdom in dealing with men. Besides, it makes them feel safer as it helps them to assure themselves that it will not happen to them because they do not make the same mistake as the victim.
4. The myths can be learned in the family, for instance, when a mother teaches the daughter that her friend who is wearing provocative clothes is just asking for sex and will get raped some day. Men’s companies are also a common route to perpetuate the myth as men try to defend a friend who may get into trouble after committing a rape by saying that all women who get raped only have themselves to blame.
5. To overcome harmful stereotypes, people need to learn more real-life stories about how people get raped in reality. For instance, in schools and colleges activists can organize a meeting with a professional who assists rape victims who can share one’s perspective on reasons of rape and give some illustrative examples. It would be even better to invite to such meetings the real rape victims if any of them prove willing to talk about their experience. Besides, since art is such a powerful medium for conveying ideas, a powerful book or movie about the history of a rape victim, severely traumatised by his/her experience, could help change the perceptions of many people.