RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

Being raped or sexually assaulted is a very distressing experience which can have long lasting effects. The majority of reported rapes are against women but male rape does happen and the Student Counselling Service will offer support to all casualties of rape. Throughout this page, advice and suggestions are relevant to either gender.  

People who have suffered sexual attacks describe feeling frightened, guilty, powerless, angry, ashamed, depressed, numb and/or lacking self-confidence. Sometimes they have difficulty with eating or sleeping. They may lack concentration and find that this makes academic work difficult. Everyone reacts differently and it is not unusual for feelings to change from day to day or for there to be a long gap between the assault and the emotional reaction to it. 

It can be difficult to talk about the attack to friends or family, yet it is important to have understanding and support. Talking to a trained person in privacy and confidence can be helpful. You can talk to a counsellor at Queen Mary or contact Rape Crisis Centre or one of the other helplines listed below.  

The majority of offences are committed by someone who is known to the person who is raped. The abuser may be a friend, a partner, a fellow student, a relative, a neighbour or a person in authority.

Rape is not always accompanied by other physical violence. Verbal intimidation, threats or emotional blackmail may be used by the abuser. People who are sexually assaulted may react in various ways. Some people scream or fight back while others may become quiet - too shocked to speak or cry out. Paralysed by fear, they may be unable to resist. 

If violence is threatened some people may decide not to struggle in the hope of getting away with the least amount of physical harm. Consequently they may or may not have torn clothes or signs of struggle after an assault. Therefore the person who has been raped does not need to show physical injuries to prove that an assault has taken place.

Rape and sexual assault, whether by a stranger or a friend, is never the victim's fault. Rape and sexual assault are always more about the use of force or power to humiliate, control, hurt or violate someone than about sexual desire or passion. There is evidence to suggest that a very large number of attacks are premeditated. Anyone can suffer sexual assault or rape.  

Where to get help

The Havens are specialist centres in London that provide medical help, counselling, practical advice and emotional support for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. You do not need to report anything to the police to get support from the Havens. There is a Haven centre at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.  Information on the website is provided in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish and Urdu.
Tel (Whitechapel centre): 020 7247 4787 (staff on call 24 hours a day, every day of the week)

East London Rape Crisis Service provides free, confidential specialist help for women who have been raped or experienced any form of sexual violence, whatever the assault and whenever it occurred. If you would like to access the service or would simply like more information call 0207 683 1210, if your call is unanswered leave a message with a safe telephone number and they will call you back.

Being Heard,     A support group that runs weekly for young people aged 16-25 affected by sexual violence. Please refer to the website for more details.

CliniQ is ‘a sexual health and well-being service for Trans people, their partners and friends’, based in Soho.

 

 

Further resources

My Decision is a website which provides a step-by-step guide for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. The site, developed by the Metropolitan Police, takes the user through all their options; from who to contact, to the type of care they will receive, how evidence will be collected, making a report, the investigation and their ability to control the process.

Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre offer professional support and information to survivors of rape or child abuse, family, friends and partners of survivors.
Helpline: 0808 802 9999

Victim Support offers confidential emotional support and advice for victims of crime. They also have a Witness Service to support people before, during or after going to court.
Helpline: 0845 30 30 900
Email: supportline@victimsupport.org.uk

Sapphire is a service provided by the Metropolitan Police for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. An advice booklet available in many languages can be downloaded which explains step by step what happens when an assault is reported to the police.

Survivors UK offers information, support and counselling to men who have been raped or sexually abused as adults or in childhood.

Women's Aid were set up to stop domestic and sexual violence towards women. They have a free 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline and can put women who need to escape from a violent situation in touch with emergency refuge accommodation. Information includes advice about safety and what to do to help a friend in danger of domestic violence.
Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (24 hour, every day)