Rape and sexual assault

Being raped or sexually assaulted can leave you with a lot of feelings, but we're here to help you.

What to do if you've been raped

Remember that what happened isn't your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of. It's really important to tell someone about what happened so they can help you.

You can get help and advice from: 

Things to remember:

  • it's never too late to tell someone. Talking about what happened can help you move forward
  • it was not your fault
  • Childline is here to support you if you're feeling scared and vulnerable
  • rape can happen to anyone.

at first i thought they
wouldn't
BELIEVE ME 

Get the support you need. Talk to one of our counsellors.

What is rape? (WARNING - Explicit language)

Rape is sex that you don’t agree to.

When 2 people have sex, it’s really important that they both give their consent. This means that they both want to have sex, and both agree to it. And they both have the right to change their mind at any time. You can say ‘no’ even if you’ve had sex with that person before.

Sex when someone doesn’t agree to it is rape. Rape is illegal. 

If a man or boy forces their penis into your vagina, anus (bottom) or mouth, this is classed as rape. This can happen to both girls and boys.

Rape can happen in a relationship. If you’re in a relationship, you both need to agree to have sex. Being forced to have sex is rape, whether it is with your partner, family, friend or somebody else.

What is  sexual assault? (warning - explicit language)

Sexual assault is when somebody intentionally touches you in a sexual way without your consent (permission). For example, if a friend’s brother forces their hand onto your private parts when you don’t want them to – this would be sexual assault.

If somebody forces their fingers or an object inside of you (either your vagina or bottom) this is also assault. Both girls and boys could be sexually assaulted by either males or females.

How rape and sexual assault can make you feel

It’s normal for rape or sexual assault to lead to different feelings and emotions. You could be feeling:

Shocked: You might feel ‘numb’ or surprisingly calm about what happened. You might feel shocked and like you can’t understand what happened.

Embarrassed: You might be worried about what people will think and how you will tell them. Read about embarrassment.

Guilty: You might think that it was your fault – even though this isn’t true. You could be angry at yourself for not stopping it. But you shouldn’t be angry at yourself.

Scared: You might have flashbacks or nightmares and feel frightened about being alone. This is a natural reaction. And it’s likely that this will get better over time.

Angry: You might want to hurt the person responsible. You may also feel like this towards yourself – even though it wasn’t your fault.

Depressed: You could feel hopeless or sad - like you don’t have anything to look forward to anymore.

Sexual abuse: how we can help

I was raped and I'm pregnant

If you're pregnant as a result of being raped, you may find yourself becoming afraid of things such as being alone or going outside. You may also be having flashbacks (when you relive what happened to you) which can leave you feeling, hearing and smelling the same things as when you were raped.

Some people might cry a lot and others may feel numb. However you feel, it's okay to feel this way. Your body will be going through a lot of changes – especially your hormones. You may feel tired or sick because of your pregnancy.

You may be worried about how you'll cope with being a mother. Maybe you're confused about your feelings for your baby because you became pregnant as a result of being raped.

However you're feeling about your pregnancy, it's important that you talk to someone about how you're feeling. Don't try to cope alone.

If you feel like there's no one you can talk to, you can always talk to us.

Staying safe from date rape drugs

If you take one (or someone makes you take one) they can make you feel dizzy, confused and helpless. This means someone can take advantage of you and make you do things you don’t want to do.

Date rape drugs don’t smell or taste of anything, so they could be given to you without you realising it. Someone could put it in your drink without you knowing. That’s why it’s really important to make sure you don’t leave your drink out of your sight at a party, club or gig. It’s also much safer to make sure you don’t let a stranger or someone you hardly know buy you a drink. 

If you’re out or at a party:

DO

  • keep your drinks with you at all times, even if you go to the bathroom
  • buy and open your own drinks
  • buy bottled drinks so you can keep your thumb over the rim in crowded areas
  • go to parties with people you trust
  • arrange how you will get back before you go out and let people know your plans.

DON'T

  • take drugs if somebody offers them to you. They can have the same effect as the date rape drug and can make you extremely vulnerable
  • let strangers buy you drinks
  • let people pass you drinks to share or share drinks with others
  • don’t drink from punch bowls (or ‘fish bowls’) that lots of strangers are sharing.

Staying safe from date rape drugs

Other helpful sites:

Police UK will help in an emergency. Dial 111 to contact our local police station. Dial 999 in an emergency.

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is free to call on 0808 802 9999 for and offers help and support.

Rape Crisis Scotland offers support and advice if you're in Scotland. It's free to call on 0808 801 0302.

Survivors UK (Male rape) supports men and boys who've experienced sexual abuse and rape.

My Decision is a step-by-step tool from the Met Police for anyone who has been sexually assaulted or witnessed a sexual assault.