Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse.
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone. No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen.
100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator. There is no excuse for sexual violence; it can never be justified, it can never be explained away and there is no context in which it is valid, understandable or acceptable.
If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.
If you think you might have been raped or been a victim of sexual violence but you feel unsure, you might find the information on this website helpful and/or you can call your nearest Rape Crisis organisation to discuss your experiences, thoughts, feelings and concerns in confidence.
It might help for you to know that, by law, a person consents to sexual activity if she or he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If you said 'yes' to something because you were scared for your life or your safety or for the life or safety of someone you care about, or if you were asleep or unconscious or incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, for example, then you didn't agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. If you froze or your body 'flopped' or went limp through fear, if you didn't say the word 'no' or weren't able to speak at all through shock, if you didn't shout or fight or struggle, it doesn't mean you gave your consent for what happened to you.