A Few Facts photo

A Few Facts

Mistaken ideas about sexual assault are perpetuated in our communities by television, print, online media, and even by family and friends. This negative information may be hurtful to survivors and hinder recovery. To counter the many myths that exist, here are a few key facts about sexual assault forensics:

  • Sexual assault cases can take a long time to resolve (months or even years) and are sometimes never solved.
  • Sexual assault is often inaccurately portrayed in the media. Many of the cases depicted in television shows are solved within the span of a one-hour episode. Media portrayals often perpetuate many victim-blaming stereotypes of sexual assault and place the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on survivors rather than offenders.
  • Much of the technology used on television crime shows either does not exist or is so expensive that it are unavailable to most police departments and crime labs.
  • If DNA is obtained and matched to a suspect, it can only prove that sexual activity occurred. DNA evidence cannot prove that a sexual assault occurred.
  • A strong support network—which may include family members, friends, partners, coworkers, and others—is a vital component in a survivor’s recovery. The emotional support and resources that loved ones can provide can be invaluable to survivors as they navigate the confusing process of healing from trauma.

Learn more about forensic evidence, visit our FAQ page to get more information, or ask your own question.  

Forensics for Survivors © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This project was supported by Grant #2009-WF-AX-0014 awarded by the Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Office of Grants & Research and subgranted to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Points of view in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division.


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