Myth: Sexual assault can be an accident

Sometimes sexual assaults are blamed on miscommunication. According to this myth, the perpetrator received “mixed messages” and “didn’t know” the person was not consenting.

Sexual assaults are constantly dismissed as a result of miscommunication. A few examples include:

  • If you consent to anything, like kissing, then a perpetrator is justified for being confused that you didn’t want to go further.
  • If you don’t yell or scream “no,” then apparently, perpetrators can just assume you must have meant “yes.”

This myth makes consent seem so confusing; that anything other than screaming “no” and fighting back can be “mistaken” for consent.

But let’s be serious; consent isn’t complicated! And in reality, when someone wants to stop and the other person wants to continue, the burden is entirely on the person who wants to continue to make sure the other wants to as well. This myth implies that perpetrators rape people by accident; that if they only knew someone was saying no they would have stopped! It fails to acknowledge that perpetrators not only understand consent, but also choose to ignore it. They know that what they are doing is wrong 100% of the time, and choose to continue regardless.