Domestic Abuse

Consent - Sex without consent is rape

Sex without consent is rape poster

To access the Domestic Abuse for Professionals Page, please click here.

This campaign has been launched by partner agencies on the Island to raise awareness of rape and serious sexual offences and to challenge rape myths.  By working together to raise awareness of the realities of rape it is hoped that we may see an increase in victims feeling confident to seek help and support and to report crimes to the police.

The following is a guide to sexual consent. It outlines what is deemed as not giving consent:

  • A Quick Guide to Consent - to view please click here (PDF, 59.73KB, 1 page).

The following document outlines some facts and statistics about rape:

  • Sex without Consent is Rape, Did You Know - to view please click here (PDF, 115.89KB, 1 page).

If you need help and support and do not know who to contact you can have a look at the useful document below which provides contact details to a number of organisations:   

  • Help and support to view contact numbers and help groups, please click here (PDF, 66.59KB, 3 pages).
  • To download a 'Sex without Consent is Rape' awareness poster please click here (PDF, 1.37MB, 4 pages).

'I Just Froze'

 'I just froze' is Rape Crisis Scotland's new public awareness campaign, which aims to challenge and change common misconceptions that there is a right or wrong way for people to react during or after a rape. To access their campaign, please click here (this will take you to an external site).

Raising awareness about SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE

There is a continuing belief in our society that women should be responsible for ‘protecting’ themselves from being raped or sexually assaulted.  This belief in the victim’s culpability is partly to blame for the low numbers of cases that come to court for prosecution (only 6% of reported rapes end in a conviction) and why so many victims never tell anyone about what has happened in the first place.

To understand why this belief exists we need to look at the myths that surround rape and serious sexual assaults.  These myths include women being responsible for rape if:

  • They are dressed in a certain way.
  • Are out alone late at night.
  • Are drunk.
  • Have flirted with the perpetrator.

These myths allow victims to be criticised for sending out the ‘wrong message’, whilst excusing perpetrators for being ‘led on’.  Perpetrators of rape are often presented as having no ability to control their actions or behaviour, so that preventing rape becomes the responsibility of the victim.  This was illustrated by the treatment on social media of the footballer Ched Evans’ victim and the abuse that she has suffered for being drunk at the time of the rape.

There are further myths about who perpetrates rape, with a continuing belief that rapists are strangers who attack victims in dark alleys; whereas we know that the majority of rapes actually involve someone known to the victim – most often their current or former partner – and take place within a domestic setting. Despite these facts marriage and long-term relationships are still seen as a ‘grey-area’ with the belief that you cannot ‘really’ be raped or sexually assaulted within a long term relationship (be that hetero or homosexual). 

Rape is a serious social issue. In January 2013, the Ministry of Justice Office for National Statistics and Home Office released the first ever joint Official Statistics bulletin on sexual violence, entitled An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales.

It reported that:

  • Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year.
  • Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year.
  • 1 in 5 women (aged 16 - 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

On the Island 146 rapes/serious sexual offences were reported to the police in 2013.  This will be a tiny fraction of the actual number rapes and sexual assaults that took place.

Attitudes which blame victims for rape can have a significantly detrimental effect: they can stop victims seeking support or reporting to the police, due to fear of being blamed for what has happened.  There is also serious concern about the impact that these attitudes may be having on the ability of women who have been raped to secure justice: rape juries are made up of members of the public, and statistically it is likely that there will be people on the jury in a rape trial who hold attitudes that women are partially responsible for rape if they are drinking, dressed in revealing clothing etc.

Alison Saunders, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, believes enduring rape myths are leading to more and more acquittals.  This is because jurors arrive at court with preconceptions which affect how they consider the evidence.

Amnesty International UK research (Amnesty International Report on attitudes to sexual assault in the UK (2005) (www.amnesty.org.uk) found that:

  • 34% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she behaved in a ‘flirtatious’ manner.
  • 30% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she was drunk.
  • 26% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she was wearing ‘sexy or revealing’ clothing.
  • 22% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she has had many sexual partners.

These beliefs need to be challenged if we want to see an increase in convictions for rape.

N.B This campaign is based on the ‘This is not an Invitation to Rape Me’ campaign run by Rape Crisis Scotland. Rape Crisis Scotland evaluated the campaign. They conducted 882 interviews with members of public.  98% agreed the campaign tackles an important issue, 65% stated it would encourage them to talk about the subject with their friends and family and 61% said that it would make them consider their own attitudes towards rape.

Information for Young People

The recently launched SafeDate Website provides information for young people on the issues that face them today, including domestic, consent and relationships. To access the website, please click here (this will take you to an external site).