The new sexual offences act was passed into law in December 2007, and has changed the definition of rape. The definition of rape is: The insertion of ANY object into the vagina, anus or mouth of any male or female without consent.
- Rapists do not always rape for sexual pleasure but to feel powerful and to be in control. Men are more physically powerful and women generally are at their mercy because of this. We realize it is not right to use violence.
Myths and facts
Myth: Rape happens in dark alleys
Fact: Most victims know the rapist. Women are often raped at home
Myth: I’m not the type of girl who gets raped. It won’t happen to me
Fact: Most rape victims thought so too. It can happen to any one
Myth: A girl who dresses provocatively is asking to be raped
Fact: Dressing attractively, is not asking for rape. Only the rapist is at fault
Myth: If you don’t scream, fight or get injured, it was not rape
Fact: Women in rape situations are afraid of being killed or hurt. Victims are often paralysed with shock and are unable to move. Rapists use manipulative techniques to intimidate women. Often women who have been raped have no physical evidence.
Myth: Only gay men are sexually assaulted or sexually assault other men
Fact: It can happen to men of all sexual orientations. Men who sexually assault other men are often straight
What are the different types of rape?
- Gang rape: which accounts for one third of all rapes, this is when more then one man rapes a person
- Statutory rape: The insertion of any object into the vagina, anus or mouth of a male or female with consent while being under the age of 16
- No child under the age of 12 can consent to sexual intercourse
- No person who is mentally disabled may consent to intercourse
- Acquaintance rape: is forced sex by someone the victim knows. It can happen between friends, girlfriends and boyfriends or people we just met
- Sexual abuse refers to acts of sexual assault (fondling, rape or sexual exploitation) of minors by parents, caregivers or strangers
Profile of a rapist
- THE POWER-ASSERTIVE RAPIST
This type of rapist commits date rapes. He meets his victims in a bar or nightclub. He does not target a specific victim but waits for an opportunity to get a woman alone either by offering her a ride home or by conning his victims into trusting him or letting him into her home by posing as a policeman or repairman. He is physically aggressive.
- ANGER-RETALIATION RAPIST
This rapist feels hatred towards women and wants to punish and degrade them. He looks for an opportunity to commit the rape than for a specific victim. He attacks when you least expect it and beats his victims to near-unconsciousness.
- THE POWER-REASSURANCE RAPIST
This rapist lacks self-confidence and is unable to develop relationships with women. He lives near his victim. He typically breaks into the victim’s home in the early hours of the morning.
- ANGER-EXCITATION RAPIST
This rapist gains sexual satisfaction from hurting his victims. He is normally charming and intelligent. The crime is planned and he may know the victims.
- THE PAEDOPHILE
A paedophile is aged above 16 and is someone who has sexual preference for children aged younger then 13, more commonly they are known as a child molester.
A paedophiles urges vary from admiring an undressed child, to displaying themselves to a child or engaging in masturbation with the child. There may also be forced sexual activities such as performing oral stimulation on the child or penetrating the mouth, vagina or anus with fingers, foreign objects or penis.
The following are some examples on how a paedophile may “groom” his victims.
- They use video games to gain trust and interest (not every video game player is a sex offender)
- They will be ‘nice’ all of a sudden
- They will take you for rides in their car or motorcycle
- They will give you money
- They will get into playful horseplay and wrestle around
- They will remove your clothes during horseplay
- They would play touch together
- The paedophile would sleep in the same room and climb on top of the body and act like he was asleep
- He would play “house – house” with his victim
- He buys toys and sweets
- They invite their victims into their home for a sleepover and he will be nude when he enters the room
- The paedophile always has contact with his victim e.g. sitting on his lap, giving piggyback rides etc
- They often hug their victims but think sexual thoughts
- They act interested in children’s toys
- They will become more than a friend
- They spend all their free time with their victims so they can learn the interests of their victims
- They show their victims pornography
- A paedophile often excludes adults
- Likes to photograph his victims
If you think you or a friend are being targeted as a victim by a paedophile e.g. sports coach, church minister, school teacher, family friend or family member:
- Speak to an adult you can trust immediately
- Try and avoid all contact with that person
- Phone child line: 08000 55555
The myths about date rape
What date rape isn’t
- If someone is pressuring you into having sex and you give in, then it’s a yes albeit a reluctant one. It means he persuaded you and you foolishly agreed.
- If you decide to sleep with someone and wake up in the morning regretting it you were not raped. You made the wrong choice. A man does not wake up a rapist, because you wished you hadn’t done it.
- If you willingly have sex with a boy and he decides to tell the whole school, he is a rat not a rapist.
- If you have sex with someone and he treats you badly afterwards. Do not punish him by reporting a rape that never happened. Making a false criminal report is a criminal offence.
Tips for keeping safe
- Try to keep the company of people who maintain similar values to your own.
- If your boyfriend tells you that his parents are going away, and tells you he has the whole house to himself, beware he might only have one thing on his mind.
- Attend a good self-defence course to learn about swift responses and useful techniques in resisting attack.
- When you are at a party, watch the person who pours your drinks lest they add something that knocks you out (like the infamous “rape drug – cat”)
- You have to set your limits. If you decide that you don’t want to have sex with someone, be careful how far you want to “make out”. Messing around with your clothes off is not the cleverest way to avoid sex. Although it is always a women’s (and a man’s) prerogative to say NO even at the last moment, it’s much easier to stop someone from having their way with you before they have crossed ‘the point of no return’. Especially if he’s stronger then you and would be able to pin you down against your will. Men are capable of self-restraint and there is no sexual urge that cannot be ignored.
- NO means NO so don’t get into the habit of saying no when you mean yes because the day you are screaming for him to stop, he will think you’re playing your usual “cry wolf”, games and ignore your pleas.
- Invest in a mace spray for emergencies.
- Always be aware of what is going on around you
- Walk with confidence; hold your head up high and shoulders straight
- At night, stick to well-lit populated areas and walk with another person
- If you are going to a club or party, always go with a friend you can trust and look after each other
- Don’t get sexual with someone you have just met
- We can’t trust everyone we meet, so insist that people must earn your trust, over time, in a non sexual-setting
- Drink from tamper proof bottles and cans and insist on opening them, as so called date drugs like GHB and Rohypnol can unknowingly be given to someone to make them powerless against sexual assaults or crimes.
- Don’t use ice in your drinks
What do I do after I have been raped?
- Don’t throw away your clothes or wash yourself, no matter how much you want to. There may be hair, blood or semen from the rapist on your clothes. This will be important evidence
- Don’t drink any alcohol or medication before a district surgeon has examined you
- Go to a safe place as soon as possible
- You must be treated within 72 hours
- Tell someone you can trust. This will be hard, but this is very important. The first person you tell will be asked to appear in court to support your story
- Put the clothes you were wearing into a paper bag or newspaper. A plastic bag will destroy evidence
- If you are hurt, go to a doctor or hospital immediately. The police will be called if you wish to report the crime
- You will need to undergo anti-retroviral treatment, as soon as possible to decrease your chance of contracting HIV. You will be tested to establish you HIV status and if negative, must be given medication within 72 hours.
- The district surgeon to gather DNA as evidence will use a crime kit; this will assist with the arrest and conviction of your rapist.
- There are several organisations offering help to Rape Survivors. Counselling from the professionals will enable you to get on with your life.
What do I do if my friend is raped?
You as the counsellor
There are a few things you should do if a family member, friend or anyone else confides in you about having been raped:
- Be supportive really listen. Make it clear that you care about her feelings
- Believe them and love and care for them
- Do not ask for details. Give her the opportunity to talk about her feelings, fears, and reactions as she chooses
- Don’t say it was her fault
- Be sensitive to their concerns about their safety
- Hold them but respect them if they don’t want to be touched
- Respect their choices reporting the rape or getting other kinds of help
- You can help her clarify her options or refer her to a rape crises hotline for that kind of help. The Rape Wise hotline is
- If she has been sexually assaulted and decides to report it, remind her not to destroy evidence by bathing, changing clothes, or applying medication.
- Encourage her to get medical attention
- Encourage her to talk with someone trained to help sexually assaulted victims
- Don’t act as if the rape never happened, even if they are in denial.
- A Rape Victim is a victim of a crime.
What is trauma?
- When we experience a “shock” or something bad happens in our lives, our body releases an amount of adrenalin
- This surge of adrenalin has an effect on the way we function, both physically and emotionally
- The effect on our bodies varies with the type of trauma that we are exposed to
- We could rate a bumper bashing as a level one trauma and a rape as the worst possible traumatic experience
What a victim might experience
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: (POST TRAUMATIC RAPE SYNDROME)
- GRINDING OF TEETH
- BLAMING SOMEBODY
- NIGHT MARES
- TOTAL DEPRESSION
- PROBLEMS WITH IDENTIFYING OBJECTS
- SLEEP PATTERNS CHANGE
- PROBLEMS WITH SPEECH
- VICTIM BECOMES A LONER
- VICTIMS BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A STIGMA ATTACHED TO THEM
- ANXIETY ATTACKS
- PANIC ATTACKS
- FEELING OF BEING OVERPOWERED
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
- Understand what your friend has experienced
- Victims need to talk
- The more they tell the story, the quicker they will heal
- Help them live one day at a time
- Encourage them to do as many extra mural activities as possible; this will take their mind off their traumatic experience
- Always be there for them, day or night!
- REMEMBER PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
- MEN SHOULD ALWAYS RESPECT WOMEN AND THEIR RIGHTS TO SAY NO!
- WOMEN SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE DANGERS SURROUNDING THEM.
- A RAPE VICTIM NEVER FULLY RECOVERS FROM THEIR ATTACK!!!