Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity.

There are many different kinds, including: rape, sexual abuse (including in childhood), sexual assault, sexual harassment, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking, sexual exploitation (including child sexual exploitation), and others.  

Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, like a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone.

No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen. 100% of the responsibility for sexual violence lies with its perpetrator(s). There is no excuse for sexual violence; it can never be justified or explained away.

If you have been raped or been through any kind of sexual violence, no matter how long ago, where you were, what you were doing, wearing, or saying, whether you were drunk or had taken drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this. If you think you might have been raped or been through sexual violence, you can find information and services on the Get Help section of this website. Or you can contact us.

Watch this video about consent:

What Consent Looks like

Here are some examples of what consent does and does not look like in practice.

Consent looks like:

  • Enthusiastically saying “yes!”
  • Talking to your partner about what you do and don’t want, and listening to them in return
  • Checking in with your partner – “Is this OK? Do you want to slow down? Do you want to stop?”
  • Respecting someone’s choice if they say “no” – never trying to change their mind or put pressure on them

Consent does not look like:

  • Feeling like you have to agree to sex because you are worried about your partner’s reaction if you say “no”
  • Someone having sex with you when you are asleep or unconscious
  • Someone carrying on with sexual activity despite your non-verbal cues – for example, if you pull away, freeze, or seem uncomfortable
  • Someone assuming that you want to have sex because of your actions or what you are wearing (for example, flirting, accepting a drink, wearing a short skirt)
  • Someone assuming that because you have had sex with them before, you want to have sex again
  • Someone removing a condom during sex, when you have only agreed to sex when using one

Sexual activity without consent is sexual violence.

If you think you might have been raped or experienced sexual violence, you can talk to us We will listen and believe you.

Consent in law

The legal definition of consent is that someone agrees to sexual activity by choice, and also that they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Freedom to make that choice means they not been forced, manipulated, threatened or pressured into sexual activity.

Capacity means they are not drunk, asleep, drugged or unconscious.

If someone knows or suspects you do not give consent, the law says they must stop.

The above information was provided from Rape Crisis England & Wales for more information please visit https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/sexual-consent/


SOS Rape Crisis policy is not to provide support to people who disclose, or have been accused of or investigated for sexual or violent offences.  However, in exceptional circumstances, the centre may decide to offer support to clients who fall into this category.   Decisions on whether support will be offered will be made on a case-by-case basis, and will be at the discretion of the centre.