Myths: Perpetrators can’t help themselves

We often hear that men can’t control themselves when it comes to sex. This is often used to justify perpetrators’ actions- for example, in a situation where a survivor is blamed for wearing a low-cut top and “tempting” the perpetrator.

By saying that perpetrators can’t help themselves, we excuse their actions and place blame on the survivor, who is apparently responsible for being sexually assaulted because he/she is so desirable.

This myth is common when perpetrators are male because of the idea that men are helpless to resist their own sexual urges. This is untrue and incredibly insulting to all men. By labelling men as uncontrollable sex maniacs, we reduce them to senseless beings who commit sexual assault because they have no power over their own bodies.

We are all conscious of and able to control our own actions. Perpetrators have the ability to decide not to violate another person. They just choose to do it anyways, and use this as a rationale for their behaviour.