Rape is forcing somebody to have sex. This means forcing any body part or other object into someone’s vagina or anus or forcing a penis into somebody’s mouth. It is a crime to have sex with somebody by force or without their consent (agreement).
Rape can happen to anyone at any time, and it can happen to both boys and girls. Having sex with someone who is passed out drunk or asleep is rape. Having sex with someone who can’t say ‘no’ is rape. Forcing sex onto your wife or husband when they are tired, sick or not ready to have sex is also rape (marital rape).
Being raped is no small thing – it is a violent crime. A rapist can be a stranger but most often it is actually someone you know – even a family member. This is just as scary as being assaulted by a stranger. When you are raped by someone you know, it may take a while for you to realise that what's happened to you is sexual assault or rape. Even then you still might have doubts because your attacker was someone you trusted. But if you didn’t want it and they forced it – it is rape.
Often a rape survivor keeps quiet and hides what happened. They feel ashamed or are scared they will be being blamed for what happened – that’s called blaming the victim.
You are never responsible for being raped. As a survivor you are responsible for what action you take after the rape. Your first stop should be a health facility where you will get free medications to reduce your risk of HIV infection and becoming pregnant. You need to get this treatment within 72 hours of the assault.
Have you been sexually assaulted or raped? Has someone you know? Visit a Victim’s Support Unit at a police station and report it.
Have you been raped or has a friend? Here's what you need to do next: