Rape and sexual assault are sexual acts which take place without someone's consent.
There are many different kinds of sexual violence - from flashing and voyeurism to sexual assault and rape. There is a higher prevalence of sexual violence against young women but it can happen to anyone.
Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act came into effect on 1 Dec 2010 defining rape as: penetration without consent, of the vagina, anus or mouth, by a penis. The Act also sets out a crime of sexual assault by penetration, which involves penetration of the vagina or anus by any object, without consent.
Police Scotland has established a National Rape Task Force which includes Rape Investigation Units in each of the 14 local divisions across Scotland. These units are led by Detective Inspectors and staffed by specially trained officers.
Who is at risk?
In most cases, rape and sexual assault are carried out by someone known to the victim. This includes sexual partners, casual acquaintances, family members, colleagues and others. Most rapes are committed indoors, usually in the home.
What can I do?
If you, or someone you are working with, has experienced rape or sexual assault it is natural to experience a whole range of feelings. There is no 'normal' response.
If you were recently attacked it is possible that you may be in shock. This can mean that you are feeling numb, unemotional, can be in total disbelief, be crying, laughing or physically being sick. Many survivors feel responsible and can feel dirty and ashamed.
It is not uncommon to experience nightmares, flashbacks to what happened or panic attacks. These are natural reactions to a traumatic event. It is possible to gain control over these reactions, and support from someone you trust, or from one of the organisations listed below, can be helpful.
It is normal to struggle with everyday life, to be irritable, to feel worthless or depressed following a rape or sexual assault. It is natural to struggle profoundly with what has happened despite pressure to move on or 'get over it'. It is not unusual to feel confused, to lack trust in yourself and others and to experience difficulties in relationships.
What help is there?
Contact us on the details below or get in touch with one of the following organisations:
The STAR Centre
The STAR Centre (previously the Rape Counselling and Resource Centre) offers free and confidential support to anyone aged 13+ who has experienced sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and other forms of sexual exploitation, including prostitution. We also offer support to friends and family affected by sexual violence.
Contact: 01563 544 686
Rape Crisis Scotland
08088 010302 - free Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline, available every day, 6pm to midnight
Break the Silence
Break the silence is an independent Voluntary Organisation established to provide a range of free and confidential support services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse from Ayrshire.
01563 559558 firstname.lastname@example.org www.breakthesilence.org.uk
Advice and information on male rape and sexual abuse
0845 122 1201 Monday and Tuesday 7- 9.30pm, Thursday 12-2.30pm