If you know of anyone who is in immediate danger, injured, or a crime is being committed, call 999 now.
If you are worried that a friend, neighbour, loved one or yourself could be a victim of domestic abuse, then call Paragon on 0800 234 6266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report your concern. Learn more about raising a domestic abuse concern.
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to:
- sexual assault
- child sexual abuse
- sexual harassment
- rape within marriage and relationships
- forced marriage
- 'honour-based' violence
- female genital mutilation (FGM)
- sex trafficking
- sexual exploitation
- ritual abuse.
Sexual violence can be carried out by a complete stranger or by someone known. These can be a trusted friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.
The truth is no one should have to worry about being raped, but everyone is a potential victim.
There is a continuing belief in our society that women should be responsible for ‘protecting’ themselves from being raped or sexually assaulted. This is victim blaming and it is partly to blame for the low numbers of cases that make it to court for prosecution. Only 6 per cent of reported rapes end in a conviction (approximately). It's a major reason why so many victims never tell anyone about what has happened to them.
Rape and sexual assault myths
To understand why this is, we need to look at the myths that surround rape and serious sexual assaults. These myths include women being responsible for rape if they:
- are dressed in a certain way (sexy, provocative)
- are out alone at night
- somewhere they shouldn't be
- have 'flirted' with the perpetrator (the abuser).
These myths criticise victims for sending out the ‘wrong message’, while excusing perpetrators for being ‘led on’. Rapists often claim they have no ability to control their actions or behaviour. Being teased or led on is never a defence. People are responsible for their own actions.
This injustice was illustrated in recent times by the treatment on social media of the footballer Ched Evans’ victim who suffered abuse and blame for being drunk at the time of the rape. Victims don't put themselves in dangerous situations; the abuser or rapist creates the dangerous situations.
There is a continuing belief that rapists are strangers who attack victims in dark alleys. It is more likely that a woman knows her rapist. The majority of rapes actually involve someone already known to the victim. Often it is their current or former partner, and it takes place within a domestic setting. Despite these facts, marriage and long-term relationships are still seen as a ‘grey area’. The belief that you cannot ‘really’ be raped or sexually assaulted by your partner you're in a long-term relationship is not a defence. This can happen in any type of sexual-orientated relationship.
You can say no to sex anytime, in any situation, and in any relationship.
- Sex is not a ‘right’ and you can say no at any point. Consent can be withdrawn at any point.
- If a woman or man hasn’t consented and you still have sex with them, it is rape. You must get clear consent.
- If you are unsure if someone is too drunk to consent, consent is not given.
- Being drunk or on drugs is not a defence for rape.
- Rape is never the victim’s fault.
- A conviction for rape means a prison sentence.
- Any form of unwanted sexual touching is a crime, whether or not it leads to rape, and the police will investigate every rape and sexual assault reported to them.
- Rape is a crime of basic intent where the offender has sex with someone who does not consent.
- If you are charged with rape you will have to go to court and give evidence in front of a jury. You could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
We have created a document that offers help and support guidance of contact details for support organisations.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted recently, the next step is to get help. Go to a safe place, such as the home of a trusted friend or family member. If you get help immediately after the assault, try not to wash yourself or change your clothes first. This may destroy forensic evidence that could be important.
- The Island’s Independent Sexual Violence adviser, call 07376 083950 if you are not sure what you need or want to do.
- Yellow Door Helpline: 02380 636312, (formerly Southampton Rape Crisis) offers a counselling service to victims from the Isle of Wight.
- The police, call 101; ask to speak to a specially trained officer.
- Treetops Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), call 0300 123 6616 if you don't want to report an assault to the police.
You can visit the Treetops SARC website for more information about support after rape and sexual assault. The centre is in Portsmouth. You can visit the centre and have a forensic and medical examination. They can store the forensic results until you make up your mind to report it to the police or not.
Alcohol is no excuse
Alcohol can often be a factor in cases of domestic abuse. Being drunk is not a defence. When people are drunk, arguments and fights can escalate. Emotions are difficult to control under the influence, but alcohol is never an excuse.
Find out how you can get help with your drinking by visiting NHS Inclusion. This website provides advice on Island drug, alcohol and psychological therapy services available.
Drinking alcohol can lead to sexual abuse when you are pressured into sex or are too drunk to give consent. Drunk does not mean yes!
ISVA Service (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor)
An ISVA is an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate. They offer confidential advice and support to both males and females who have been the victims of recent or historic sexual violence. This service is run by the Hampton Trust. ISVAs give you the information to decide what you would like and need, for example:
- practical advice on reporting to the police, the legal process and attending court
- refer you for counselling and other appropriate services
- help to co-ordinate different agencies, such as sexual health, mental health, substance misuse and housing
- liaise with the police for regular case updates, if you choose to report the sexual assault
- regular and ongoing telephone contact and face-to-face meetings and support.
If you wish, they can also go with you to the following:
- Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) at Treetops
- police, if you choose to report
- sexual health clinic
- housing office.
An ISVA will only provide the support you choose. Their role is not to tell you what to do, but to help you make informed choices. If you would like more information, email email@example.com.
Sexual violence counselling for children and young people
Barnardo’s TrustTalk2 is counselling for children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse or violence. It is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
It was established to provide therapeutic counselling to children and young people aged zero to 19 years who have experienced sexual abuse or violence.
This service is in partnership with Barnardo's and Paragon to deliver this service to children and young people on the Isle of Wight.
Referrals can be made by professionals using the referral form.
You can make a self-referral by contacting Evie Parmar on mobile, 07584 395682 if you're a:
- parent or carer and feel that this service could support your child
- young person and you would like some support.
Visit Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner to get in touch or for more information.
Sexual violence resources for professionals
Professionals working with victims of sexual abuse and violence can find more resources on our domestic abuse resources for professionals pages.