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How to recognise rape and sexual assault

What is rape?

It is rape when someone is pressured or forced to have sex when they don’t want to. If you’re going to have sex or do some kind of sexual activity, it’s important that both of you give consent every time – even if it’s with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Some people think that if the person who was raped was drunk or on drugs then it is their fault and they were ‘asking for it’. This isn’t true. It is never the victim’s fault.

The legal definition of rape is when a male puts his penis into the vagina, mouth or anus of another person when that person doesn’t want him to. It can happen to boys and girls and is a serious crime.

If somebody puts objects or other parts of the body (other than a penis) such as a finger, into someone’s vagina or anus, when that person didn’t want it to happen, this is known as ‘assault by penetration’.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when someone is forced or pressured to take part in sexual activity that they don’t feel comfortable with. This can include things like:

This is a crime that can be committed by both men and women against men or women.

Rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration can have serious consequences for everyone involved. If you have been a victim of any of these, it’s really important that you tell someone about what happened so they can help you.

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