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Myths vs Facts

Support and Help

Rape and sexual assault statistics

Sexual violence is an umbrella term which covers all forms of sexual activity which has happened without consent. Sexual crimes are about power and control rather thandesire and sexual attraction

Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose

Sexual Violence and Harassment

Image based

Sexual Harassment

Anyone can be impacted by Sexual Violence, including rape, sexual assault and exploitation, regardless of your sex, genderor sexuality. It may have happened when you were a child, teenager or as an adult.

Sexual Assault


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It is important to note that: • A child under the age of 13 can never consent to any sexual activity.• The age of consent in 16.• Sexual intercourse without consent is rape. • No child can consent to their own abuse.

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Rape happens when someone didn’t want to have sex or didn’t give their consent for sex to happen. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 states that someone commits rape if all of the following happens: - They intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis. - The other person does not consent to the penetration. - They do not reasonably believe that the other person consents.

Sexual assault happens when someone touches another person in a sexual manner without their consent. Or when someone makes another person take part in a sexual activity with them without consent. It includes unwanted kissing and sexual touching.

Sexual harassment is any kind of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that leads to feeling humiliated or intimidated. Such as the use of insulting sexual names, speaking in a sexual way that makes an individual feel uncomfortable, or spreading sexual rumours.

Image-based sexual abuse (sometimes referred to as ‘revenge porn’ or ‘sextortion’) is when someone shares, or threatens to share sexually explicit images or videos of another person without their consent. This can also include digitally altered images (also known as ‘deepfakes’). Materials can be shared both online and offline.

Remember that victim-survivors are notto blame for the sexual violence they havebeen subjected to, and all victim-survivorshave the right to report what happened.There are no time limits to report sexualviolence to the police.

Call 999 to report a rape or attempted sexual assault, as soon as possible after the crime

If you’re the victim of rape or sexual assault, the police and other organisations are there to help

Only you can decide whether or not to report to the police. The majority of victim-survivors do not tell the police what has happened, however many feel accessing independent support can help them to move forward

Victim Support

National Association for People Abused in Childhood

Revenge Porn Helpline


Safe Line

Rape Crisis

Some areas have Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). They can offer you medical support and collect evidence that can be used later.

Report a concern to ACT Safeguarding Team

Click to access support websites

Have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult(6.54 million women in total)

1 in 4women

With so many myths surrounding sexual violence and abuse, it can sometimes be hard to know what to believe. Here are key statistics from trusted sources that show the scale of the problem in England and Wales.

Rape and sexual assault statistics

1 in 6chidren

1 in 18men

have been sexually abused

have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adut(1.34 million men in total)

1 in 2

of people prosecuted for sexual offences

rapes against women

are carried out by their partner or ex-partner

are men aged 18+

are carried our by someone they know

rapes against women


6 in 7

5 in 6 women who are raped don’t report – and the same is true for 4 in 5 men. Lots of these survivors tell someone else what happened. So, why don't they tell the police?

40% said ‘embarrassment’ 38% said they didn’t think the police could help 34% said they thought it would be humiliating

9 in 10 girls and young women in schools say:

Sexist name-calling and being sent unwanted 'dick pics' or other images of a sexual nature happens to them or other girls and young women their age.

1 in 3 adults who are raped experience it in their own home

Where did we get the data for these statistics from? Crown Prosecution Service | Home Office | Ministry of Justice | NSPCC | Office for National Statistics | Ofsted

But most survivors don't report it to the police

Myths about rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and other types of sexual violence cause serious harm. Here, we take a look at some of the most common myths – and separate fact from fiction.

Myths vs Facts

Women who drink or take drugs deserve it if they get raped.

Women lie about being raped because they want attention or revenge – or regret having had sex with someone.

If she didn’t say ‘no’ then it wasn't rape.

It’s not rape if it's your wife or girlfriend.

If she didn’t scream, try to run away or fight back then it wasn't rape.

Women are ‘asking for it’ if they wear revealing clothes or flirt.

Women often play ‘hard to get' and say 'no' when they really mean 'yes'.

Fact: No one is ever to blame for being raped or sexually assaulted – it doesn't matter what the circumstances were. Raping or sexually assaulting someone is always a crime and 100% of the blame, shame and responsibility for that crime lies with the perpetrator or perpetrators.

Fact: False allegations of rape are extremely rare. In fact, most people who are raped or experience another form of sexual violence never tell the police.

Fact: Not saying ‘no’ is not the same as someone giving their consent. If someone seems unsure, stays quiet, moves away or doesn’t respond, they are not agreeing to sexual activity.

Fact: Rape is always rape. If someone wants to take part in any kind of sexual activity with another person then they must get their consent. Every. Single. Time. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been married to the other person for 50 years – if the other person doesn’t consent, it’s rape. And it's illegal.

Fact: It’s really common for people who experience rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or other types of sexual violence to find they can’t move or speak. This is one of our bodies’ automatic responses to fear and is designed to keep us safe. It's also one of the reasons why lots of people don't have visible injuries after experiencing rape or another form of sexual violence.

Fact: Women and girls have the right to wear whatever they want and behave however they want without being raped or sexually assaulted. As does everyone. There is never any excuse for rape or sexual assault.

Fact: Women and girls, just like men and boys, should always be listened to and believed when it comes to sex. Everyone has the right to change their mind at any point during sexual activity and it’s not up to anyone else to decide what someone wants – only they can do that. So, if someone says ‘no’, respect their wishes.

Myths vs Facts

Only gay men get raped and only gay men rape men.

If she'd really been raped then it wouldn't have taken her so long to say something.

People who were sexually abused as children are likely to become abusers themselves.

Victims and survivors should act a certain way after being raped.

Men of certain backgrounds are more likely to commit sexual violence or abuse than others.

Women don’t commit sexual offences.

Men don't get raped.

Fact: Absolutely anyone can be a victim or survivor of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence, including men and boys of all sexual orientations. Rape is about power and control for perpetrators. So, for some perpetrators, it doesn't matter what their victim's gender or sexual orientation is. The important thing to remember is that all victims and survivors should be listened to and believed – and all deserve specialist support.

Fact: There is no typical rapist. People who commit sexual violence and abuse come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age and social group.

Fact: For many people, experiencing rape or another form of sexual violence or abuse can be a very difficult thing to talk about – and it might be a long time before they feel able to. This can be for lots of different reasons. They might feel like they'll be judged or blamed or not believed. Or they might be scared of their perpetrator or another person finding out.

Fact: Most victims and survivors of child sexual abuse never rape or sexually abuse other people. There is never an excuse for sexual abuse or any other type of sexual violence against anyone – children or adults.

Fact: Everyone responds differently to rape and other types of sexual violence, and there's no right or wrong way to be or to feel afterwards. It's common for people to feel numb after a traumatic event like rape or sexual assault. And some people don't feel the effects of trauma until a long time after a traumatic event has happened.

Fact: The majority of rapes and sexual assaults are committed by men against women and children. However, women do carry out sexual violence – against other women, as well as men and children. All victims and survivors should be listened to and believed. And 100% of the blame, shame and responsibility always lies with the perpetrator, no matter who they are.

Fact: Men and boys are raped and sexually assaulted every day in England and Wales – in fact, one in 20 men have experienced rape or sexual assault as an adult. Sexual violence and abuse can have a lasting and serious impact on the lives and wellbeing of men and boys, just as it can for women and girls.