I have questions about the children’s support to report service?

If you’ve had sex with someone before, is it always OK to have sex with them again?

Every time two people have sex or do anything sexual together, they both need to have given their consent to whatever happens. Just because you’ve had sex with someone before, and even if you’re in a relationship with them, doesn’t mean you can assume they’ve given their consent every time, and they should never assume you’ve consented to anything sexual either. It’s really important that we check in with the other person and make sure anything sexual that happens between us is what we both want, every time. If we don’t, we could be breaking the law and risking causing long-term hurt and trauma to the other person. We all have the right to give, refuse or take back our sexual consent at any time. No-one should ever pressure you into saying ‘yes’ to sex or make you feel guilty about saying ‘no’; that’s not real consent. And sex without consent is sexual violence.

If I tell anyone I was sexually abused when I was a child, won’t they think I’m more likely to be an abuser too and try to keep me away from kids?

It’s not true that people who were sexually abused as children are more likely to become abusers themselves; this is a dangerous, hurtful myth. The vast majority of people who are sexually abused in childhood will never commit sexual offences against other people. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, you deserve support and talking about your experiences can help you to heal and move forward positively with your life. If you want to, you can start by getting in touch with us. We will listen, believe and support you. We won’t judge or make ignorant assumptions about you.

Do most rapes happen to women who get attacked by a stranger because they’re out by themselves after dark?

No. Only about 10% of rapes are committed by strangers. Most rapists are someone that the victim or survivor already knows and often trusts – or even loves – like a friend, partner, spouse, colleague, neighbour, family member or ex. Of course rapes can be and sometimes are committed by strangers in this kind of situation, but not because the victim was on their own after dark; there’s only one reason why a rape ever happens and that’s because the rapist has chosen to do it. If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, sexually abused, sexually harassed or sexually exploited, whatever the context, it was not your fault. If you’re looking for support around an experience like this, you can find out more information.

Am I less likely to be believed about being raped because so many women lie about it when they actually just regret cheating on their boyfriends or something?

It’s not true that a lot of women lie about being raped. Actually, so-called false allegations of rape and other sexual offences are very rare. Sometimes the media (like newspapers, TV, radio and websites) can give us the impression that a lot of women lie about rape because they focus on those rare cases when women are convicted for making a ‘false’ report. But that’s because things that are more unusual or happen less often, make better news than things that happen often; for example, they don’t cover nearly every rape case that goes to court. If you’ve been raped or experienced any kind of sexual violence, it’s completely your choice whether you report to the police or not, and if you do, it’s your right to be treated with respect, empathy and impartiality. If you’re thinking about reporting, but aren’t sure, you can talk to us about it; we won’t pressure or try to persuade you either way.

I have questions about children’s therapy?

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I said ‘no’ but my boyfriend said it was too late to stop because he was so turned on; is it true that men can’t help themselves sometimes?

No. Anyone, no matter their sex or gender, can control their sexual behaviour and has responsibility for their own actions. No-one has to rape someone to fulfil their ‘needs’ or ‘urges’ or because they’re turned on. There are absolutely no excuses for doing anything sexual to someone who doesn’t want it, or who isn’t able to say or decide whether they want it because, for example, they’re very drunk or asleep. This was not your fault and you do not deserve it.

If I got an erection or ejaculated, does that mean it doesn’t count as rape or sexual assault?

In law, someone consents to sex or a sexual act when they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Anyone you’re with sexually – or who wants to be sexual with you – has the responsibility to be sure you’ve given your consent to anything and everything that happens between you, every time. Consent can’t be assumed and it’s yours to give, refuse or take back at any time. Your body can react in different ways to different situations, but that’s separate from whether or not you consented to what happened. If you didn’t agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice, then what happened to you was rape or sexual assault, no matter the circumstances. It was not your fault and you deserve support.

If I was very drunk or flirting a lot, is it my fault that I was raped, because I was giving mixed signals?

No. Rape or sexual violence of any kind is never ever the victim’s or survivor’s fault. 100% of the responsibility lies with the rapist(s) or perpetrator(s). They had a duty to make sure you had fully consented – that means that you wanted and were happy with – anything sexual they did to you, because sexual activity without consent is sexual violence. Consent to sex can’t be implied or assumed; it’s a fully and freely given, enthusiastic ‘yes’ and nothing less. If you were very drunk, you might not have even been able to give your consent. There’s no excuse for rape or sexual violence. Whatever the circumstances, it wasn’t your fault.

what is sexual violence?

When we say ‘sexual violence’, we mean any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation, and others.

Sexual violence can be carried out by someone you know, trust, or even love, like a friend, colleague, family member, spouse, partner or ex, as well as by strangers. No matter who perpetrates sexual violence, it is 100% their fault and their responsibility; there is no excuse for it and no-one ever deserves it.