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What is sexual harassment?

If someone talks about you in a sexual way, calls you insulting sexual names or spreads rumours about you, you’re experiencing sexual harassment, and it can happen in person, online or over the phone.

What is sexual assault?

If someone touches or grabs you intentionally in a sexual manner that makes you feel uncomfortable, or forces a kiss against your will, this is classified as sexual assault.

This extends to sexual touching of any part of your body, regardless of whether you’re wearing clothes or not.

What is rape?

Rape refers to the act of forcing someone into penetrative sex. 

Female comforting her friend on the grass

It’s common for victims of rape to be concerned about reporting the incident because they:

  • are in a relationship with the offender;
  • had been drinking alcohol at the time;
  • had been kissing or touching the person before the attack;
  • can’t remember the incident fully;
  • didn’t fight back or say “no”;
  • have had sexual relations with the person before; or
  • are in a same sex relationship.

There is no justification for rape, sexual harassment or sexual assault. Every instance is illegal and should be reported to the police.

How should I feel after experiencing a sexual crime?

Two people reviewing a document at a table

There is no right or wrong way to feel. Your feelings will depend on the incident and you situation, but common reactions include:

  • feeling scared or anxious;
  • not wanting to go out in public;
  • feeling sick or unwell; 
  • difficulty sleeping; and
  • avoiding places and people you associate with the incident.

What should I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted, harassed or raped?

Contact the police and report the incident. Crimes of this kind are wrong, illegal and you shouldn’t expect to be subjected to them.

Talk to us. You’ve been through an incredibly traumatic incident, and it’s ok to have problems coming to terms with the way you feel in the aftermath. Our trained team can offer the emotional and practical support you need.

 

Covid-19 Update

We are currently providing telephone support to anyone impacted by crime Mon-Fri between 8am-5pm on 0300 303 3706.

For support outside of these hours call the Victim Support 24 hour line on 0808 168 9111.