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Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault

Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault

 

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act including: rape, sexual abuse (including in childhood), sexual assault, sexual harassment, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking, sexual exploitation (including child sexual exploitation).

Sexual violence can happen to anyone and can be perpetrated by a stranger, or, more commonly, by someone known and even trusted for example a partner.

100% of the responsibility for sexual violence lies with its perpetrator(s). There is no legal excuse for sexual violence; it can never be justified or explained away.

If you have been raped or been through any kind of sexual violence, no matter how long ago, where you were, what you were doing, wearing, or saying, whether you were drunk or sober,  or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault.

I have been sexually assaulted - How should I feel?

It is not unusual to experience a delay in emotional response to what has happened, or for emotions to change, sometimes quite frequently.  If you have been subjected to a sexual assault you may feel numb, confused, afraid, angry, depressed, powerless, lacking confidence, ashamed, guilty.

If you have been sexually assaulted or abused it can have devastating effects on every aspect of your life including your mind, body, behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Please do not hesitate to seek help and support.     

Some Facts and Statistics[1]:

  • The vast majority of sexual assaults (90%) are committed by someone known, often someone trusted
  • People have the right to drink alcohol without getting assaulted. Having sex with someone who is very drunk, drugged or unconscious is rape since consent is not possible – and it is always the rapist’s responsibility
  • Although the majority of sexual assaults and rapes are committed by men, women do perpetrate sexual violence.  Often people who have been sexually assaulted or abused by a woman worry they won't be believed or their experiences won't be considered 'as bad'. Men can also be the victims of sexual assault
  • Sexual violence does not always result in physical or external injuries.
  • Only 15% of people who experience sexual assault report it to the police
  • Everyone has the right to say 'no' to any type of sexual activity at any time – including with their partner. Consent must be given and received freely every time. Rape and sexual violence in a relationship is illegal

 

Sexual activity without consent[2]

  • If someone says "no" to any type of sexual activity, they do not consent
  • If someone has not said “no” out loud, that does not mean that they have consented to sex
  • If someone seems unsure, stays quiet, moves away or does not respond – this is not consent. Many people who have experienced sexual violence find that they were unable to move or speak - this is a common, survival response
  • If someone is asleep, unconscious, drunk or drugged, they cannot consent to sexual activity
  • If someone is threatened, bullied, pressured or manipulated into saying yes, this is not consent
  • If someone is not sure whether you are giving your consent for something sexual, they should check with you.
  • If someone can see, or suspects that you are not 100% comfortable or happy with what's happening between you, they should stop

 

What to do after a rape or sexual assault

Reporting what has happened to the Police[3]

  • If you want to report a rape or assault immediately, particularly if the incident has just taken place or you are in danger, call 999.
  • You can also report the rape or assault online or use the web chat Contact us (cambs.police.uk)
  • It is never too late to report a rape or sexual assault. Regardless of whether it happened recently or 20 years ago, or more. To report historical abuse call 101.

Help at the Staff Counselling Centre

 If you have been sexually assaulted, abused or raped (recent or historic, reported or not) please seek confidential, non-directed and non-judgmental support from the qualified experienced and sensitive therapists at the Staff Counselling Centre.

Free Support and Practical Help

The Elms – Cambridgeshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Peterborough:  offers free support and practical help to anyone in Cambridgeshire who has been sexually abused. The service is completely confidential and is available 24/7. Trained staff can give you advice and provide information that might help you make an informed choice about what to do next.

 If you are unsure whether you want to report the incident to the Police now but would like to retain the right to do so at a later date, staff at the SARC will be able to talk through the different options with you and can store forensic evidence until you make a decision. 

The Elms – contact details:

Website:  www.theelmssarc.org

Email: theelms.sarc@nhs.net

Tel: 0800 193 5434 (9am-5pm) or 0800 193 5434 (Out of hours)

Where to seek more help

Cambridge Rape Crisis:  

Website: www.cambridgerapecrisis.org.uk

Email: support@cambridgerapecrisis.org.uk

Tel: 01223 245888

 

National Rape Crisis:

Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk (information on website to find a local rape crisis centre.  Website has live chat option.)

 

Survivors UK (for men):

Website: www.survivorsuk.org (Helpline Web Chat: Mon-Sun: 12.00-20.00)

Email: help@survivorsuk.org

Tel: 0203 598 3898 (Mon-Fri: 09.30-17.00)

 

 

 


[1]More information/statistics/links to national statistics are available at the Rape Crisis website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

[2] www.rapecrisis.org.uk

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