TRIGGER WARNING - May be upsetting for some people

What does the law state regarding consent?

A person consents if they agree by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”

“A person commits rape if they intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without consent.”

“A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent.”

Definitions to know:

Rape:

The penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with a penis without consent.

Assault by penetration:

The penetration of the vagina or anus of another person with a part of their body of anything else without consent.

Sexual assault:

Sexually touching another person without their consent.

Facts and figures:

1/5 women (aged 16-59) have experienced some form of sexual violence from the age of 16

Nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted each year in England and Wales

Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped each year in England and Wales

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

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

A third of people believe that women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped

How to get consent:

The person initiating sex is responsible for getting consent.

Ask yourself if the other person is capable of giving consent?

If they are on drugs or too drunk, asleep or unconscious, they cannot choose.

Some people living with a mental health problem, a learning disability or a head injury, may not have the capacity to consent.

You can confirm if you have consent by checking the other persons body language and by asking them.

Check with them each time you start a new type of sexual activity and on each occasion you start sexual conduct.

Look at their body language and see if they are eager and comfortable.

Ask them if they are okay.

If they seem unhappy, or you are not sure that they are consenting, stop.

Silence, or the absence of a ‘no’, does not guarantee that somebody is consenting.

A clear affirmative freely-given ‘yes’ indicates consent.

What support is there if you have been sexually abused:

Horizon: Sexual Assault Referral Centre (http://www.horizonsarc.org.uk/) provide people who have experienced rape and sexual assault within the West Midlands with support and advice to assist in their recovery. They will provide you with the information about the options available to you and will support you in the decisions that you make. They can also carry out a forensic medical examination, as well as tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

Survivors UK (https://www.survivorsuk.org/) offer help and support, including counselling and a helpline service for men who have been sexually abused at any point in their lives and also provides support for their families. This is also open for those who are trans and non-binary, but have identified as a male in the past, or anyone who feels that they are the right fit for them.