Humanities › Issues What are Rape Myths - Why Do Myths About Rape Often Blame the Victim? Share Flipboard Email Print Yuichiro Chino/Moment/Getty Images Issues Women's Issues Women & Violence Reproductive Rights The U. S. Government U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. Liberal Politics U.S. Conservative Politics Civil Liberties The Middle East Terrorism Race Relations Immigration Crime & Punishment Animal Rights Canadian Government View More By Linda Lowen Journalist B.A., English Language and Literature, Well College Linda Lowen is a journalist who specializes in women's issues. She produced and co-hosted Women's Issues, an award-winning public affairs talk show that ran for eight years. our editorial process Linda Lowen Updated March 18, 2017 Question: What are Rape Myths - Why Do Myths About Rape Often Blame the Victim? Answer: Rape myths are assumptions about the act of rape and the victims of rape that frequently reduce empathy for -- and even shift blame to -- the victim. Often unproven or downright wrong, rape myths are nonetheless widely accepted. A concept first introduced by sociologist Martha R. Burt in 1980, rape myths are defined as "prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims and rapists." Rape myths can lead us to justify acts of sexual violence by rationalizing that the victim did something wrong and therefore is at fault. When women believe rape myths, they frequently separate and/or distance themselves from the victim by saying, "That would never happen to me because...." The following are common rape myths: It's not rape if they're datingthere was no force/violence involvedshe didn't fight itshe went home with himshe wasn't aware of what was happeningshe said no but really meant yesshe's a prostitute She wouldn't have been raped if she wasn't drinking alcoholwearing tight/sexy clothingleading him onslutty/a bad girl/sleeping aroundasking for ityoung and attractivein the wrong place at the wrong time the LA Weekly blog described her The tendency to take a judgmental view of rape victims is s direct result of viewing this violent crime through the lens of rape myths. Sources:Beere, Carole A. "Sex and gender issues: a handbook of tests and measures." Pages 400-401. Greenwood Publishing Group. 1990.Raja, Sheela. "Rape Myths Persist - Reactions to the Assault on Lara Logan." WomensMediaCenter.org. 17 February 2011.Wilson, Simone. Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and Warzone 'It Girl,' Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration." Blogs.LAWeekly.com. 16 February 2011.