Reaction to the news that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may have sexually assaulted Professor Christine Blasey Ford when they were both high school students shows that myths about sexual assault persist, even one year into our national reckoning with #MeToo.

The first myth? We take all reports of sexual assault seriously. We do not. If Ford worked as a janitor at Palo Alto University instead of a professor of clinical psychology with 89 journal articles to her credit, it is doubtful that her account of what happened in high school would be taken as seriously as it is now. We see this all the time with survivors of color, male survivors, and those who are transgender.

In truth, as much as the world has changed since 1991 when Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing, some things have remained the same. Even in the #MeToo era, we continue to believe that victims, in general, are to blame and that some victims are more to blame than others.

The second myth? It’s as likely as not that someone making a report of sexual assault is lying. No matter how much we learn, this continues to be the go-to response for reports of sexual violence. Conservative political commentator Erick Erickson spoke for many when he tweeted that a “single sourced, uncorroborated accusation from 35 years ago never mentioned to anyone until the alleged perp is a public figure is not a credible accusation."

In truth, survivors rarely make false reports while those who commit sexual assaults nearly always make false denials. Yet in the aftermath of a report of sexual assault, it’s on survivors to prove they are not liars. Before she went public, Ford felt that she needed to muster as much evidence as she could to show that she was being truthful, so she actually arranged to take a polygraph test administered by a retired FBI agent and shared the results with the Washington Post.

The third myth? Boys will be boys. Ford’s description of what happened is quite harrowing. She told the Post that she thought Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill me” when he pinned her beneath him and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream for help. Yet her description of what was done to her has been dismissed by prominent writers and commentators as “a terrible moment as a boy.” We all make mistakes, especially as teens. But characterizing the act of pinning someone down and covering their mouth to prevent them from calling for help as a youthful, boyish mistake gives a whole new meaning the word “mistake.” It also contributes to an acceptance of sexual violence as routine or even normal.

The idea that boys cannot control themselves and that all bets are off when both parties have been drinking is deeply destructive. It puts girls on the defensive beginning in middle school with ill-conceived dress codes designed to police their appearance. It continues through college for people of all genders when sexual assaults are dismissed as drunken encounters, and then onto the company holiday party as well. In a story about the political fallout from Ford’s report, an unnamed lawyer told Politico that if Kavanaugh’s nomination could be derailed by something he did in high school then “every man certainly should be worried.” The implication was that every man, as a high school student, had done something along the lines of pinning a girl down and trying to tear her clothes off. In truth, it’s actually unusual for a man to commit sexual assault. But those who do usually have multiple victims. Painting all men with the predatory behavior of a few skews our understanding of the risks and realities of sexual assault.

The last myth? Sexual assault is not a big deal. In fact, it’s a very big deal, and recovering from sexual assault is no small thing. Treatment needs range from immediate forensic medical care to long-term access to health care providers experienced in working with survivors. The lifetime health impacts of having been subjected to dehumanizing acts of violence are significant and include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse—any of which can significantly interfere with daily living. There are economic costs as well. Survivors often change jobs to escape an offender and careers are disrupted. Sometimes they leave their field of expertise entirely and never recoup the loss in earnings.

The essayist Michelle Bowdler raises a provocative question about rape in her piece “The Surprise that Surprises No One.” “Rape in this country is not treated as a crime of brutal violence but as a parlor game: his word against hers, regret sex, revenge against a scorned lover,” she writes. “Given all this, it seems fair to ask whether rape is actually a crime.”

It is. As recently as six years ago, Ford was still receiving treatment related to having been assaulted in high school, nearly 30 years after the fact. The amount of time that has passed since the offense has not diminished its impact.

What matters to Ford today is that she was attacked in high school and it influenced the course of her entire life. What matter for the rest of us is how we continue to respond now that we have this information.

Gina Scaramella is the executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.