Understanding Rape – Trigger Warning

Understanding Rape: 

 

What is the legal definition of rape?

 

Any person (‘A’) who unlawfully and intentionally commits an act of sexual penetration with a complainant (‘B’), without the consent of B, is guilty of the offence of rape.

How do I know if I’ve been raped?

Sex and sexuality are both deeply private and individual. Each of us has the right to sexual integrity and physical safety. Even more so, we each have the right to decide who we want to or do not want to have sex with or engage in sexual acts with. We do not only have the right to decide who to engage with, but also when and how. The golden rule is that both parties have to consent to the sexual activity: that both parties say ‘yes’ with their words and/or bodily attitudes. When someone else breaks this golden rule and takes advantage of you without your consent, this is rape, and it is NOT your fault!

 

Rape, or any form of sexual violence, is a crime. It is critical to know that rape is never your fault. Nothing you have said, or done, or implied, or the clothes you wore, or text messages you sent entitle someone else to take sexual advantage of you against your wishes.

 

It is still rape even if:

  • you were subject to violence or threats of violence, and you went along with it for your own survival;
  • violence or threats of violence were made against someone else, and you were forced to consent for their wellbeing; 
  • you consented to sex or sex acts, and later changed your mind;
  • your attacker was a friend, date, spouse, parent, sibling, guardian, professor, teacher, coach or employer;
  • your body froze and you were unable to communicate consent;
  • you were asleep, unconscious, drugged or incapacitated by alcohol;
  • you were wearing clothing that the attacker saw as provocative or seductive;
  • you have engaged in sexual relations with the person in the past, but did not consent on this occasion;
  • your disability did not enable you to communicate your wishes.

 

If you have been raped, or suspect that you have been raped, follow these steps.

 

REFERENCES

 

Birch, J., 2021. What you need to know about getting help if you’ve been sexually assaulted. [online] Teen Vogue. Available at: <https://www.teenvogue.com/story/sexual-assault-help> [Accessed 25 January 2021].

 

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University. 2021. Sexual Assault Survivor’s Guide – CSB/SJU. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.csbsju.edu/chp/sexual-assault-survivors-guide. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University. 2021. Sexual Assault Survivor’s Guide – CSB/SJU. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.csbsju.edu/chp/sexual-assault-survivors-guide#GettingBackOnTrack. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

 

Melinda. 2021. Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma – HelpGuide.org. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/recovering-from-rape-and-sexual-trauma.htm. [Accessed 27 January 2021].

 

Myths about rape | Rape Crisis England & Wales. 2021. Myths about rape | Rape Crisis England & Wales. [ONLINE] Available at: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/myths-vs-realities/. [Accessed 27 January 2021].

 

nhs.uk. 2021. Help after rape and sexual assault – NHS. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

Rape and Sexual Assault. 2021. Rape and Sexual Assault. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 28 January 2021].

 

Rape and sexual assault – Citizens Advice . 2021. Rape and sexual assault – Citizens Advice . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/gender-violence/rape-and-sexual-assault/. [Accessed 29 January 2021].

 

Rikosuhripäivystys. 2021. Advice for victims of rape – Rikosuhripäivystys. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.riku.fi/en/guides-and-instructions/advice-for-victims-of-rape/. [Accessed 25 January 2021].

 

South African Government. 2021. Where can I find an organisation that offers assistance to victims of violence? | South African Government. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.za/faq/justice-and-crime-prevention/where-can-i-find-organisation-offers-assistance-victims-violence#. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

 

Tears Foundation. 2021. What to do if you are raped? – Tears Foundation. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.tears.co.za/what-to-do-if-you-are-raped/. [Accessed 31 January 2021].

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