Rape, sexual or indecent assault?

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28 Nov 2012

A sexual assault involves the use of physical, psychological or emotional pressure during sex with someone without consent and can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual act.

Rape uses violence as a means of control, to try and dominate someone and make them do something they do not want to do. Rape is a subject that is difficult for most people to talk about because of the pictures it conjures up in people’s minds and most people think it is not something that they need to worry about as it happens between strangers down dark alley ways or on unlit open land.

But most rapes happen in the home, between people who know each other or have just met, statistics indicate. Police officers in Cheshire talk to many people who believe the many myths and misconceptions about rape - most of us are shielded from knowing what actually happens until we, or someone close to us, is affected.

Common misconceptions about rape

Myth: When it comes to sex, some people say ‘no’; but they really mean ‘yes’.

Fact: No means no but sometimes people may be too frightened to say anything. This doesn't mean they are consenting to sex.

Myth: Rape happens because of the way you are dressed.

Fact: Rape has nothing to do with what you wear. Nobody has the right to have sex with you without your consent.

Source – The Haven – a centre for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted

Cheshire Police’s rape shatters lives campaign

Cheshire Police are asking the question -

Have you ever been in a situation where you are with your partner and things are getting passionate between you, but when it comes down to it, your partner doesn’t want to go any further and they don't want to have sex with you!

Cheshire Police want to make it clear that sex without consent is rape. At this time of year, evidence shows an increase in the number of rapes that are reported to police.

Everyone has the right to say no to sex. Using intimidation, force or violence to get someone to comply with your desire to have sex is against the law.

The law in relation to rape and sexual assault is quite clear. Cheshire Police are raising awareness of the law to ensure it is clear to everyone this Christmas period, that anyone who thinks it’s ok to force someone into sex will be branded as a criminal. Cheshire Police officers will be robustly investigating any cases reported, arresting offenders and bringing them before the courts. Officers deal on a regular basis with victims whose lives have been shattered by someone forcing them to have sex.

Have you ever met someone in the pub or club and thought that they are definitely up for it!

Cheshire Police are asking people to think carefully before having sex with someone. A situation can be misinterpreted, for example, an invite back for a coffee doesn’t mean you are being invited to have sex.

Cheshire Police want everyone to be very clear about the law. You do not have the right to assume someone wants sex with you just because you fancy them or you want to have sex with them. Assuming consent can land you in prison.

Have you spent time with someone but they make it quite clear that they don't want to have full on sex with you!

Remember, all the situations described here need the consent of the person you intend to have sex with. Trying to force someone to have sex with you is illegal and is punishable by law. You will be guilty of rape if you have sex without their consent; you may end up serving a prison sentence and will be required to sign on the sex offender register for life.

Rape is inexcusable and Cheshire Police are driving home the message that everyone has the right to refuse any sexual activity - no one should have to be a victim of sexual assault or rape no self respecting person should impose on another person.

Current legal definition of rape

Rape is covered under The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (The Act) which came into force on the 1st May 2004. The Act strengthened and modernised the law on sexual offences, whilst improving preventative measures and the protection of individuals from sexual offenders.

The word "consent" in the context of the offence of rape is defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. A person consents if he or she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. The essence of this definition is the agreement by choice. The law does not require the victim to have resisted physically in order to prove a lack of consent. The question of whether the victim consented is a matter for the jury to decide, although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) considers this issue very carefully throughout the life of the case.


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