The question ‘what is sexual violence’ gets asked to us a lot. Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including – but not restricted to – rape. This includes sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, ritual abuse. No-one ever asks for it to happen, nor do they deserve for it to happen. Sexual violence can happen to anyone; women, men, children.
The act can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known to the victim. These perpetrators can be in a position of trust, such as a friend, family member, work colleague, partner or even an ex-partner etc.. All of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator. There is no excuse for sexual violence behaviour. It can’t be justified. Sexual Violence can never be explained away. There is no circumstance in which sexual violence is valid, understandable or acceptable, ever.
If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing or what you were saying – if you were drunk, or whether you were under the influence of drugs, it was NOT your fault and you did NOT deserve it.
If you think you have been a victim of sexual violence, or have been raped, but you feel unsure, you can call us to talk to us in strict confidence about your experiences, your thoughts and how you feel. We have specialists on hand to help and advise you. It is our job to listen and help you, no matter how unsure you feel. A rape does not need to have taken place for you to contact us. We help victims of all kinds of sexual violence who have been traumatised and affected by their experience.
Under the laws of this country, a person consents to sexual activity ONLY if she, or he, agrees by choice. They must have the freedom and capacity to make the choice to say yes. If you said ‘yes’ to something because you were scared for your safety, or your life you did not have free choice. If you said ‘yes’ to something because you were worried about the safety or life someone you care about, you did not have freedom of choice. If you were asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, then you did not have freedom of choice and did not agree by choice.
If you froze or your body went limp through fear, if you didn’t say the word ‘no’ – or were not able to speak at all through shock, you did not have freedom of choice and did not agree by choice. If you didn’t shout, struggle, or fight, it does not mean that you gave your consent for what happened to you. Please call us (1800 340 340), we have a 24 hour hotline. You can also email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are worried about calling. If you are in this situation and you need help, it is our job to help you.