Information on Sexual violence

Sexual violence comes in many forms but one thing is common – the survivor is never to blame. If you need to talk to someone in confidence about sexual abuse, we are here for you.

  • 85000

    Approximately 85,000 women (aged 16 – 59) experience rape, attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration in England and Wales alone every year

  • 15%%

    Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence report to the police

  • 90%%

    Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence

There are many forms of sexual violence

They can include child sexual abuse, rape, assault, harassment, exploitation through pornography and/or sex work, flashing and female genital mutilation (FGM). Sexual violence can be committed by a stranger, partner, friend, acquaintance or relative, but is never, ever justified.

There are lots of myths

There are lots of myths surrounding rape and they silence survivors by placing the blame on the woman rather than the abuser.

Click each MYTH to reveal the FACT.

Women are most likely to be raped outside, in dark alleyways late at night by a stranger.

Only 9% of rapes are committed by 'strangers'. Women are raped in their homes and in their work places where they are less likely to be believed and even less likely to report. More than 80% of rapes are committed by known men.

Everyone knows when a woman says no, she often means yes. Women secretly want to be raped.

Rape is a terrifying, violent and humiliating experience that no woman wants or asks for. A person has the right to change their mind about having sex at any point of sexual contact. If a sexual partner does not stop at the time a person says no, this is sexual assault. If a person is in a relationship with someone or has had sex with a person before, this does not mean that they cannot be assaulted by that person. Consent must be given every time two people engage in sexual contact. Sex without consent is rape.

She was asking for it, look at what she was wearing.

Women and girls of all ages, classes, culture, ability, sexuality, race and faith are raped. Attractiveness has little significance. Reports show that there is a great diversity in the way targeted women act or dress.

She was drunk and took drugs, what did she expect.

If a person is unconscious or their judgement is impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally they are unable to give consent. Having non-consensual sex with a person who is intoxicated is sexual assault.

The woman did not get hurt or fight back. It could not have been rape.

Men who rape or sexually assault women and girls will often use threats and intimidation. The fact that there is no visible evidence of violence does not mean that a woman has not been raped. Faced with the reality of rape, women make second by second decisions, all of which are directed at minimising the harm done to them.

Men of certain races and backgrounds are more likely to commit sexual violence.

There is no typical rapist. Studies show that men who commit sexual violence come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age and social group. 85% of rapists are men known to their victims.

Once a man is sexually aroused he cannot help himself. He has to have sex.

Studies show that most rapes are premeditated. Men can quite easily control their urges to have sex - they do not need to rape a woman to satisfy them. Rape is an act of violence - not sexual gratification. Men who rape or sexually assault does so to dominate, violate and control.

Women make up stories about being raped.

Reporting to the Police can be a difficult decision. There are many myths that underlie the belief that women make false allegations of rape against innocent men. Studies show however, that the allegations of rape that are false are exactly the same as that of any other crime i.e. 6-8%.