Rape and Sexual Assault

Rape & sexual assault.

There can often be a darker side to sex, one we rarely speak about. This may not be a very nice subject to think about, but it is important nevertheless

Some stats we should be aware of*:

  • 21% of girls & 11% of boys have been touched inappropriately as a child
  • 23% of women & 3% of men have been touched inappropriately as an adult.
  • 3.7 million Women in England & Wales have been sexually assaulted at some point since they were 16 years old.
  • Around 10,000 women are sexually assaulted & 2000 women are raped every week.
  • 34% of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years old.

*All taken from the Governments paper End Violence against Women and Girls published November 2010.

 

Let’s get a few things straight:

The majority of rapes and sexual assaults are not committed by the man in the bushes, but by someone we know, be it a friend, partner or even a family member.

Most people are aware that rape is when someone forces a person to have sex,against their wishes (without consent). However, just because a person hasn’t actually said no, does not mean that they have agreed to have sex and consented. Furthermore, a person should not have to scream and shout or fight to prove they do not want to have sex with you either. Rape does not have to be a violent struggle. Quite often people shut down and do not respond in any way rather than necessarily trying to fight back. Accepting something bad is happening is not the same as agreeing to it.

Indeed, we are not just talking about full sex either; any form of unwanted  sexual touching, degradation; being forced to perform, witness or participate in any unwanted sexual acts, including manual sex can be classed as sexual assault, whereas unwanted oral sex, as well as full penetrative sex can be classed as rape.

Quite often these acts are more about power and control rather than about sex. As we have said, rape and sexual assault are often committed by people we know; therefore it is also a huge abuse of trust which is another reason why it can be so damaging for survivors.

Rape is often seen primarily as something that happens to women – more specifically something that men do to women -and the majority of cases are of such. However, men can also be the victims too. Men can be raped or sexually assaulted by other men or by women.

Both men and women can be the victims of domestic violence both physical, emotional and sexually. Regardless of your gender or sexuality, rape and sexual assault are not to be tolerated, nor is any other type of violent or bullying behaviour.

If you’ve experienced domestic violence, rape or sexual assault there are plenty of people that are there to support you. Don’t suffer in silence, speak to a trusted adult e.g., school staff, school nurse, parent, doctor, etc.  There are a range of services in your area that can help too- see here.

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