Sexual assault is a crime that can be committed by both men and women against men, women or children. The other person has committed an offence if any of these things happen when you don’t want them to:
- Being touched in a sexual way that makes you feel uncomfortable or frightened.
- Being sent sexual images by email, social media or phone (‘sexting’).
- Being forced to watch other people have sex.
- Being forced to make or watch pornography.
- Having objects or body parts – excluding the penis – inserted into your vagina or anus.
Rape is when a man forces his penis into another person’s mouth, anus or vagina when they don’t want him to. The most important things to remember are that you should never be forced to have sex and must never feel guilty about saying ‘no’ for any reason.
How you may be affected
We’re all different but feeling worried, isolated, scared or ashamed are all perfectly normal.
Unwanted sexual incidents are often not reported because the victim feels trapped and alone. The truth is, they can happen to anybody and there is always support available.
Steps you can take
If you think you are experiencing any unwanted sexual activity, or have done in the past, you must always remember that you can get support and help. Nothing that has happened to you is your fault.
You may feel alone and that no-one can help, but just talking to someone here about what you are going through will make you realise that there are people on your side. We can help you understand what is happening and guide you to specialist organisations who can support you moving forward.
If you are unsure, go with your instincts. Anything that doesn’t feel right probably isn’t.
You may be entitled to support through an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). The video below outlines what an ISVA does and how they can help…