Sexual Assault and Rape 

Sexual assault and rape are criminal offences that can be committed by both men and women and affects both women and men.  It can feel humiliating and degrading but it is important to remember that the real shame should be with the person who commits the crime, not the person who is assaulted. Rape and sexual assaults can be committed by strangers, relatives or even by people that you thought were friends. It's widely thought that in most cases of rape, the offender is a stranger, the truth is the majority of people who commit rape know their victims and, in some cases, are relatives, friends or work colleagues. 

Sexual assault and rape are traumatic events. You might: 
  • feel ashamed or even guilty about what happened 
  • feel depressed or suicidal 
  • have flashbacks 
  • have distressing thoughts 
  • have difficulty concentrating 
  • have difficulty with sleeping, you may also experience nightmares
  • feel numb and in shock 
  • be tearful, angry or irritable
  • have physical symptoms 
Remember that whatever you are experiencing it is a normal reaction and might last a long time. These are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.

Sexual assault is a general term we use to describe any sexual act or activity where there has been no consent given.  Consent means that both people agree to what’s happening by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. 

It wouldn’t count as consent if: 
  • you were subjected to violence or threats of violence
  • violence or threats of violence were made against someone else to force you to consent
  • you were asleep, unconscious, drugged or incapacitated by alcohol
  • your disability meant you were not able to communicate your lack of consent
Sexual assault and rape within marriage and relationships can also occur. Remember, sex is about consent. If your partner or spouse has forced you into having sex with them, this is rape. We treat this as seriously as any other sexual assault or rape.
 
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