If you are under 16 you cannot legally consent to any sexual activity. Any sexual activity you have not consented to or you have been tricked or pressured into is sexual abuse.
What is consent?
Sexual abuse can include being touched in a way you don’t like, someone else exposing themselves to you or someone forcing you to take part in sexual activity when you don’t want to.
Not all sexual abuse happens in person, many crimes are committed online. Crimes can be committed by total strangers, someone you thought was a friend or by family members.
Any type of sexual abuse is extremely distressing. You might feel ashamed or embarrassed about what has happened to you and you may not feel like you can talk to anybody. Remember, you are not to blame. Nothing you do could ever justify someone else forcing you to do or see things you don’t want to.
If you are unsure about what to do or if you simply need someone to talk to, you can speak to us in confidence and we will find the best way forward together.
If you would like to you can meet with one of our specially trained and friendly staff in person or you could take part in activities with other young people who have had similar experiences to you.
We will support you in whatever way suits you best. We are here to help you back on your feet so please get in touch.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t told anyone about your experience before or if it happened a long time ago. You can find out more about the support we offer on our ‘What we do’ page.
All of our services are free and confidential.
Myths and facts about rape and sexual abuse
Myth: Most rapes are committed by strangers.
Fact: Most rapes are carried out by somebody you know and trust.
Myth: Rape and sexual abuse happen because of the way the victim is dressed.
Fact: Rape and sexual abuse have nothing to do with what the victim wears. Nobody has the right to have sex with someone without their consent.
Myth: If someone’s drunk when they’re raped it’s their own fault.
Fact: The only person to blame is the rapist. Being drunk doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt you.
Myth: Rape and sexual abuse don’t happen to boys or men.
Fact: This is not true – boys and men can also be raped or sexually abused. Sexual activity without consent is abuse, regardless of whether you are male or female.
Myth: If your boyfriend forces you to have sex, it is not real rape.
Fact: If you have been forced to have sex by anyone, it is 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.