The reporting of sexual offences continues to increase, with more victims speaking out about their experiences. Their recovery is in part predicated on the responses they get – from families, the police and their therapist.  Yet research shows that societal acceptance of rape myths remains high – even with therapists who work exclusively within this arena.

This workshop explores the most common rape myths, looking at how they are formed, how they can impact views on sexual violence and, in particular, how they impact victims.

We will examine the following specific myths:

  • The prevalence of stranger rape
  • Rape is a crime of passion
  • Only gay men rape/get raped
  • A victim is responsible for being raped if they drink too much, takes drugs, or behave or dress provocatively
  • A victim will report rape immediately
  • A victim will scream, or fight back
  • A victim will get injuries.

We will also look at rape trauma, seeing how the brain responds to perceived threat and the survival techniques victims tend to use.

Participants will be encouraged to explore their own beliefs about sexual offending and how these may impact the therapist client relationship. We will also consider how these myths play out in the media and the court room as well as in the therapy room.

About the presenter

Before qualifying as a psychotherapist Sally French was a senior sexual offences lawyer who worked with the Crown Prosecution Service for over 25 years.  She helped develop national policies around rape which led to significant changes in the way CPS approached victims of sexual violence.

Sally has a Masters in Person Centred Counselling & Psychotherapy and is a UKCP accredited therapist, working in North Nottinghamshire in private practice and as a trainer. She regularly delivers training to therapists on challenging attitudes to societal rape myths, working within the pre-trial therapy protocol and runs a series of child abuse courses for trainees and new practitioners.

Professional Development Day: Societal Rape Myths & Traumatic Reactions - BACP Events

The main aims of the PDD

  1. To explain what societal rape myths are, how they are created and how they impact everyone’s attitudes to sexual violence
  2. To explore how rape myth acceptance might negatively impact on client work
  3. To give participants an opportunity to identify and challenge their own rape myths
  4. To provide a basic working model of trauma and survival reactions
  5. To show how rape trauma reactions feed into rape myths
  6. To enable participants to understand how their reactions may collude with or further shame clients who have been abused

By the end of the PDD, participants will be able to

  1. Identify rape myths which routinely occur in our society and understand how these impact our global reactions to sexual violence – for example rape conviction rates
  2. Understand why these myths are so insidious and why they are relevant to therapists
  3. Understand how holding these myths out of awareness may negatively impact on client work
  4. Challenge the existence of rape myths in themselves, colleagues and if appropriate in clients
  5. Have a basic working understanding of trauma and how this ties in with rape myths, and thus be able to normalise behaviours which clients may not understand and which form the basis of significant shame and/or guilt.

This PDD is relevant to

All counsellors and psychotherapists

At some stage, all therapists are likely to see clients who have experienced sexual violence. Rape myths, like other introjected prejudices, are within us all and we may not understand the impact they have on us and our response to our clients.  


Please book your place online.


Crowne Plaza Leeds

Wellington Street




Registration will be 9.30am with the workshop starting promptly at 10am. Two refreshment break and a light lunch will be provided. The workshop will finish at 4.30pm.