Judy Finnigan
Judy Finnigan has apologised for her comments on the case of Ched Evans on ITV's Loose Women Getty

The row presenter Judy Finnigan is embroiled in is not an unusual story. A celebrity says something inappropriate on television, the Twittersphere bubbles over with outrage, they apologise. And the dispute blows over until the next time.

During an appearance on ITV's Loose Women, while discussing the case of footballer Ched Evans – who is being released after serving over two years for raping a woman in a hotel room – Finnigan said the rape was "not violent" and "did not cause any bodily harm" to the victim.

"The rape - and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape - but the rape was not violent, he didn't cause any bodily harm to the person," she said. "It was unpleasant, in a hotel room I believe, and she had far too much to drink."

It took seconds for her comments to set alight social media, with Twitter users calling her "disgusting" and criticising her for suggesting rapes are excusable. Finnigan has now apologised for causing any offence, saying she was not attempting to "minimise the terrible ordeal".

The statistics around rape and sexual violence are difficult to comprehend. Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year, and more than 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year. One in five women will experience some form of sexual violence after the age of 16. And with these numbers in mind, it is time the myths surrounding rape are debunked.

Myth: Women shouldn't go out alone, as they are most likely to be raped by strangers in dark alleyways

Fact: Only 10% of rapes are committed by "strangers". The overwhelming majority of attacks are carried out by someone the survivor has previously known and trusted. People are raped in their homes, workplaces and other settings where they have previously felt safe.

According to Rape Crisis, the myth that rape is most commonly perpetrated by strangers can make the majority of survivors less likely to report to the police or confide in others – for the fear of not being believed, a sense of self-shame or mixed feelings about getting the perpetrator into trouble.

Myth: She was drunk, took drugs, wore tight clothes, worked in the sex industry, she was asking for it

Fact: Having non-consensual sex with someone is rape. If a person is unconscious or has had their judgement impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally they are unable to give consent.

Rapists use a variety of excuses to try to discredit the women they rape and to justify their crimes. 100% of the responsibility of the act lies with the perpetrator.

By referring to the clothes the woman was wearing, how she was behaving, whether she was drunk or on drugs, the implication is that some women are more "innocent" than others, more worthy of sympathy or to blame for the attack. There is no other crime in which so much effort is expended to make the victim appear responsible.

Myth: Rape is about sex

Fact: Rape is about control and has nothing to do with sex. Perpetrators seek control to the point where they choose to violate another person, exercising and demonstrating power over an individual.

This is why rape is used as a weapon of war. Wartime sexual violence committed by combatants during armed conflict or military occupation frequently take place, particularly in the context of ethnic conflict – where the phenomenon has broad sociological motives.

Most recently, Human Rights Watch reported that rape was commonly used as a weapon against Yazidi women and children detained by Isis (now known as Islamic State) in Iraq.

Myth: The woman did not fight back, therefore it could not have been rape

Fact: Perpetrators who rape or sexually assault others will often use weapons or threats of violence to intimidate their victims. A lack of visible evidence does not mean that a woman has not been raped.

Faced with the reality of rape, victims make split second decisions to minimise the harm inflicted on them. The fear of further violence often limits an individual's physical resistance, and many women have described feeling paralysed with shock or fear.

Myth: Men do not get raped

Fact: Masculine gender socialisation suggests that men, even the young, cannot be victims of rape. This is not true. Around 9,000 victims of rape in the UK are thought to be men, a number likely to be lower than the reality due to under-reporting.

The British Crime Survey estimates that up to 15% of the adult population of the UK have been sexually abused in childhood. This includes 11% of young men.

Research on male rape only appeared less than 30 years ago, mostly focused on male children. Due to the stigma surrounding the issue, fewer than one in 10 men-on-men rapes are reported. Survivors UK provides support for victims of male rape.

Myth: Women often lie about being sexually assaulted

Fact: Deciding whether or not to report a rape or sexual assault is difficult, and it is estimated that only 15% of the women raped every year in England and Wales report to the police. One of the reasons is the fear of not being believed.

In March 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service published a survey confirming that false rape reports are "very rare" and suggesting they could make up less than 1% of all reports.

For advice and support on rape, called Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999.