Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Assault: 

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Support and Information Line 403–237–5888


Alberta's One Line for Sexual Violence 1–866–403–8000
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Mythbusting Monday: Because women fantasize about rape, they secretly enjoy it.

A recent case in the United States has underscored just how willing people are to believe this myth to be true. A marine posed as his ex-girlfriend on Craigslist, and placed an ad looking for “a real aggressive man with no concern for women.” He provided a man who responded to the ad with her address, and one week later, this individual sexually assaulted her in her home.

The man who sexually assaulted this woman may have genuinely believed at the time that he was acting out her fantasy. It seems that in an era when we’re well aware that it’s very easy to pose as someone else online, and that not everything we read is true, many people are still willing to believe information they read on the internet, particularly if it is information that supports long standing and ingrained myths.  This lack of questioning or careless acceptance can result in some individuals overriding sound , and logical judgment, sometimes resulting in tragic circumstances as in this situation.

Another myth that is also present in this situation is that sexual assault is about sex as opposed to it being a violent and invasive assault that uses sex as a weapon.  Just as a physical assault with a baseball bat has nothing to do with baseball, sexual assault has nothing to do with sex.  This misinterpretation of what constitutes the actual crime allows many people to excuse sexual assault as a misunderstanding between acquaintances, or as role-play gone wrong. In this case, the perpetrator saw the ad and only viewed it as an opportunity for sex, and did not question anything else around why a woman would be soliciting to be subjected to a violent and invasive crime (if even just a fantasy) by a person she had never met. He willingly ignored the crime aspect, because he inherently believed that women seek to be dominated, threatened and humiliated sexually by men they have never met.

That being said, fantasies about rape can be a very normal part of a woman’s sexuality. Some women do fantasize about it and may engage in role-play of aggressive sexual encounters, but these are vastly different from an actual sexual assault. In fantasy and role-play situations,  the “victim” has control over what happens – the partners are carefully chosen, and the actions are agreed upon, consensual, and there are safety measures in place to ensure a chosen outcome. Sexual assault is exactly the opposite – the victim has no control over the situation, and no knowledge of when it could happen.

In the above case of fulfilling a perceived fantasy, the perpetrator had an obligation to establish consent at the time of the crime. As with any sexual encounter, consent can be given and taken away at any time, for any reason, and by law this choice must be established and respected. Without this consent, the sexual act becomes a sexual assault. It is a crime with significant impact and repercussions both personally and legally, for the victim and the perpetrator.

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