What is rape?

girl_biting_nailsRape is a very serious crime and is when someone is made to have sex when they didn’t want to.

If this has happened to you or a friend then it is important that you get help and advice as soon as possible.

Rape and sexual assault can happen to men as well.

What’s sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when:

    • A person is penetrated without their consent.
    • Someone is touched in a sexual way that makes him or her feel uncomfortable or frightened (this could be through their clothes or directly)
    • Someone is made to sexually stimulate themselves using their hands or fingers or put objects into their private places when they don’t want to do it.

What is consent?

Consent means giving permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something and being comfortable with that decision. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or whether you’re straight, gay or bisexual, if you’re planning to do anything sexual then both of you must give consent.

Consent has to be given freely and no one can be made to consent to something. It’s not consent if someone does something because they feel like they have to. You can also never assume that someone is giving consent – you have to be sure.

Being pressurised or forced to have sex when you don’t want to is not consent and is a crime.

Myths and facts about rape and sexual assault

Myth: Most rapes are committed by strangers.
Fact: Most rapes are carried out by somebody you know and trust.

Myth: Rape happens because of the way the victim is dressed.
Fact: Rape has nothing to do with what the victim wears. Nobody has the right to have sex with someone without their consent.

Myth: If someone’s drunk when they’re raped it’s their own fault.
Fact: The only person to blame is the rapist. Being drunk doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt you.

Myth: Rape doesn’t happen to boys or men.
Fact: This is not true – boys and men can also be raped. Rape is sex without consent regardless of whether you are male or female.

Myth: If your boyfriend forces you to have sex, it is not real rape.
Fact: If you have been forced to have sex by anyone, it is rape.

Myth: When it comes to sex, some people say ‘no’ but they really mean ‘yes’.
Fact: No means no but sometimes people may be too frightened to say anything. This doesn’t mean they are consenting to sex.

Support and help
There are no excuses for rape or sexual assault. No-one asks for it and no-one deserves it.

Lancashire Police take reports of rape and sexual assault very seriously. We have specially trained officers who are very kind and understanding and will explain what happens all the way through and help you to make a statement. There will also be people there who can help you with any medical or emotional worries you might have.

If you feel unable to report it to the police straight away, tell someone you trust.

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