How to Deal with Rape or Sexual Harassment in Rights

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We have some information to help you understand more about rape and sexual harassment. 

The definition 

Rape is when another person forces you to have sex with them when you don’t want to. No always means no to everyone. Don’t ever put up with being forced into having sex. Sexual harassment can mean being touched when you don’t want to, hearing unwanted sexual talk or being called sexual names.

Rape Crisis Scotland describes rape and sexual harassment as being a form of sexual violence. Other forms include flashing, sexual assault and obscene phone calls.

Not always a stranger 

When you hear rape you normally think of some stranger lurking in a back alley ready to attack an unsuspecting victim, but did you know most rapes are actually committed by someone known to the victim. This could be a partner, family member or friend.

It's not your fault

Remember that you haven’t done anything wrong and you shouldn't be scared to tell the police or to talk to someone about what has happened.

Being raped or sexually assaulted is a traumatic experience and can leave you feeling in shock. You might feel depressed, experience panic attacks and flashbacks or have problems sleeping. You may feel none of these things and that's OK. Everyone reacts differently. It’s really important to find someone to talk to and support you through this.

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Recovery 

There is no right or wrong way of recovering- it may take a long time for you to heal and feel better.

Reporting it 

You don’t have to report rape or sexual harassment to the police (although someone has broken the law and could be sent to prison if you do report it) but it’s a good idea to talk to someone about what has happened. 

If you don’t want to talk to someone you know then call the Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline on  0808 801 0302 (6pm - midnight, 7 days a week). It's free and confidential.

Get checked 

Women should also check that they are not pregnant, and both men and women should check that they haven't contracted an STI (sexually transmitted infection).

For more information 

A booklet called 'Information And Help After Rape And Sexual Assault' has been produced by the Scottish Government. It’s designed for women or men over the age of 16 who have been raped or sexually assaulted and provides guidance about what to do, and information about support services available to you. You can now download the 'Information And Help After Rape And Sexual Assault' booklet as a pdf. To download Adobe reader so you can view pdfs go to the Adobe website.

Top Tips 

Rape Crisis Scotland give these five tips for how you can listen to and help someone who has been the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • Listen- talking about their experience may be quite difficult. Give them space to tell you in their own time. 

  • Believe- it is important that they know you believe what they are telling you.

  • Respect- there is no right or wrong way to react to being a victim of rape.

  • Remember- it is never anyone's fault to be raped and no one ever deserves it.

  • Recognise- it takes a lot of courage to talk to someone. It can be helpful to acknowledge this.

It can be upsetting so see someone you care about trying to come to terms with a traumatic situation. Support is there for you either on the Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline or at your local Rape Crisis centre.

Need free legal advice - Call the Young Scot Law Line, free 24 hours per day on 0808 801 0 801.