Have I been raped?
Many people get in touch with us to ask whether what they have experienced is rape. Rape and sexual abuse don’t always look like how they are shown in films and TV programs and the way our bodies react in these situations might not be what we expect, so it can be hard to understand what has happened.
No matter what type of incident it was, when it happened, or who it was try to remember this isn’t your fault and you’re not alone.
Everyone has the right to say ‘no’ to any sexual act, any time and under any circumstances, regardless of whether they’ve given consent to sex with that person in the past and regardless of whether they’re in a relationship with the other person. Sex without consent is rape.
You can call our anonymous helpline whatever you have experienced, and you do not need to be involved with the police.
Below are some legal definitions of a few offences which are classed as sexual violence. There are more than the ones listed below and full explanations about what acts are cover by the law can be found here.
Rape is legally defined in the UK as the penetration with a penis of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without their consent.
Assault by penetration is another serious offence which is defined as penetration of another person’s vagina, mouth or anus with any part of the body other than the penis or any object without their consent. This can carry the same sentences as rape.
The overall definition of sexual assault is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation, in the form of a sexual act, inflicted upon someone without their consent.
If someone is too drunk or taken too many drugs to understand what they are consenting to then they cannot consent. 100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator you won’t be judged or get in trouble for being intoxicated when the attack happened.
Sexual assault is the touching of someone, in a sexual way, without their consent.
When we work with survivors, we are led by them, encourage them to name and frame their own experiences, and use the language that they find most meaningful and representative, rather than strict legal terminology.
Want to talk?
Women and girls
0808 801 0456
Men and boys
0808 801 0464
Monday 11.00am – 2.00pm
Tuesday 6.00pm – 8:30pm