You’re not to blame
Sometimes, it can be hard to make sense of what has happened. But knowing what the law says about rape and sexual assault may help you to understand, and see that you are not to blame. If you have had any sexual contact that you did not want or ask for, this is a sexual assault or, in some cases, a rape.
This is 100% not your fault. The blame falls only on the person who assaulted you. You are not to blame.
Below are some facts about rape and sexual assault that may be helpful if you are feeling guilty, ashamed or if you are unsure about what happened to you:
If you give consent, it means that you agreed to something. In the example of sexual consent, the person who engaged you in the sexual act must have got your consent. If you said no, you did not give consent. If you didn’t say anything but also didn’t say yes, you also did not give your consent. It is also not consent if you say yes but only out of fear for what will happen to you if you say no. If you feel you were forced to say yes, you did not give consent.
It doesn’t matter who the person is. If you did not give your consent, they have committed a sexual offence. Even if it is someone you are in a relationship with, you do not have to engage in any sexual activity you do not want to. If you did not say no, you are still not to blame. The other person still must make 100% sure that they have your consent. If they did not, they are the only person to blame.
Rape and sexual assault
- Rape is when a person intentionally penetrates a vagina, anus or mouth with a penis without the consent of the other person. Penetrate means to put inside or to insert into.
Only a person with a penis can commit a rape, but boys, girls and transgender people can all be raped.
- Assault by penetration is when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with any part of their body, or any other object, without that person’s consent. This can be committed by someone of any gender and also anyone of any gender can be a victim.
- Sexual assault is when a person intentionally touches another person in a sexual way without their consent. This includes things like someone touching or groping your breasts, your crotch or your bottom. This can be committed by someone of any gender and also anyone of any gender can be a victim.
Remember, if you did not give your consent to the other person, this is an offence, no matter who you or they are, how old either of you are and either person’s gender. There is never an excuse for doing any of these things without your consent.
It does not matter how old you are, if you did not want sexual contact, it counts as rape or sexual assault. It also does not matter how old the person who assaulted you is. If you did not give consent, it is an offence.
There are a few simple rules about age and consent that you should also remember:
- If you are under the age of 13, you cannot agree to sex or any sexual contact. If anyone has any sexual contact with you, this is an offence
- If you are under the age of 16 and somebody over the age of 16 had sexual contact with you, this is an offence
- If you are under 18 and someone who is in a position of trust has sexual contact with you, this is an offence, even if you are over 16 and give your consent. Some examples would be a teacher, care worker or social worker
If you contact us because you feel you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you will not be in any trouble. Your age does not matter. If you did not want something sexual to happen to you, you will not be blamed.
Drink and drugs
It does not matter if you had been drinking alcohol or taking drugs when the incident occurred. If someone engaged in a sexual act with you that you did not consent to, you should not feel guilty or as though you are to blame because you were drunk or on drugs. You will not be in trouble because you were under 18 and drinking. You also won’t be in any trouble because you had taken drugs. Too many people don’t get the help they need after a rape or sexual assault because they are worried they will get into trouble, but you should always come forward to get the support you need.
“Asking for it”
Simply, you are not “asking” for sex unless you are literally asking for it. It does not matter if you were wearing revealing clothing. It does not matter if you had been flirty or friendly with the person who assaulted you. It does not matter if you were walking alone late at night. If you did not want to engage in sexual activity, none of these things matter. A rape or sexual assault is still a rape or sexual assault regardless of anything like this and none of these things make you to blame.
It does not matter if you are a boy, girl or transgender. It does not matter if the other person who assaulted you was a boy, girl or transgender. Anyone can commit a sexual offence and anyone can be raped or sexually assaulted.
It is often believed that only girls are raped and this is not true. Too many people think of rape and sexual assault as something that happens to girls. Again, ANYONE can be raped or sexually assaulted. Nobody should feel guilty, ashamed or to blame for what has happened to them. The only person who should feel guilty, ashamed or to blame is the person who assaulted you.
Reporting an Assault
Just because you did not contact our centre or the police straight after you were assaulted, that does not mean you won’t be taken seriously or believed. Many people don’t report these events straight away for lots of reasons. Sometimes, they were assaulted by someone they know and think they are protecting them. Some people are too scared to come forward because they fear their attacker. Some people go into shock and it takes them a little while to come to terms with the fact they have been sexually abused. It doesn’t matter when it happened, if you tell us you were raped or sexually assaulted, we will take it very seriously.
Remember. You can call us if you are unsure and we can give you advice. If you think that you may have been sexually assaulted or raped, you are probably right and you should contact us as soon as possible. Call us now on 0800 183 0023
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