This month we have launch our first awareness campaign. Created with students at Teesside and Durham universities, we are seeking to raise awareness about the realities of rape and sexual assault.
Myth: Rape happens outside in the dark and is committed by strangers.
- Rape can happen anywhere.
- Most rapes happen inside where there is less chance of being disturbed, but it can happen anywhere.
- Over 90% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
- This can be a friend, a partner, an acquaintance, a work colleague, a family member, a teacher, or your leisure or activity club leader. Rape is rarely committed by strangers.
Consent – the person who initiates any intimate act is responsible for ensuring the other person consents to the act. Consent must be informed and freely given. This means that the person giving consent must know what they are consenting to, and must be able to give their consent.
If you agree to oral sex and the other person penetrates your vagina or anus without your consent– this is rape.
If you agree to vaginal sex and the other person penetrates your mouth or anus without your consent– this is rape.
Consent isn’t simply a yes or no at the start of intimate contact; it is a conversation, a communication throughout the intimate contact which ensures that both people are happy and agree with what happens at each stage.
Consent does not carry over – If you give your consent once this does not mean that the next time you have intimate contact with that person that you have already consented.
For example if you consented to sex with your partner on Friday, this does not mean that you will automatically consent on Monday.
If your partner is sleeping or has had too much to drink, it is not OK to have sex with them just because they had agreed to have sex with you previously.
If you find yourself in a position where someone is pushing and pushing you into having sex, if they are struggling with you, if they just won’t take no for an answer and if in time you stop fighting them off, or stop saying no – this is NOT consent.
If someone is struggling with you and trying to get you to have sex with them and you freeze, this is NOT consent. We freeze when our brain chemistry identifies a threat to our safety. This is a NORMAL response and DOES NOT mean that you consented or even wanted that particular contact.
If you are still unsure about what does and what does not constitute consent this clip might help.