Many of the women who call us ask “was it rape?”, below are some legal definitions of a few offences which are classed as sexual violence. There are many more than the ones listed below.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines rape as ‘the penetration with a penis of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without their consent’.
The Act describes penetration of another person’s vagina, mouth or anus with any part of the body other than the penis or any object without their consent, as ‘sexual assault by penetration’, which can carry the same sentences as rape.
The overall definition of sexual or indecent assault is an ‘act of physical, psychological and emotional violation, in the form of a sexual act, inflicted upon someone without their consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts’.
We encourage our clients to use the language that they find most meaningful and representative and we do not use legal terminology or definitions.
Everyone has the right to say ‘no’ to sex, to withdraw or withhold their consent for any sexual act, on any occasion and under any circumstances, regardless of whether they’ve given consent to sex with that person in the past and regardless of whether they’re in a relationship with the other person. Sex without consent is rape.