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Violence against women

Sexual assault
Learn about rape trauma syndrome, date rape, and the impact of rape on relationships

Domestic violence
Learn why it happens and how to get help.

Child sexual abuse/incest
Learn how to spot child sexual abuse and how to report it.

Sexual assault

Rape: the worst crime

Rape and survival, both are related. What happens to someone who has been raped? What happens to her life? How does she get over that single event that changes her entire life? How does she get past that roadblock that stands firm in the middle of her entire existence? How does she live, even one day at a time, after an event that is one step short of murder? Rape has been called soul murder. Those who have never been raped do not understand the full impact that rape has upon the victim.

Some see rape as a one-time crime that is ended the moment the day is over. Others see rape as an act of sex. Still others see rape as something that does not exist. But only those who have been raped or those who have been victims of attempted rape know the full impact of this illegal act. Rape affects the mind, body, and soul. It changes the victim and her life from the very instant that it happens. Yet, because of the nature of the crime and because of the way society acts towards the victims and criminals, the real truth rarely comes out about rape or about rapists.

Rape is not an act of sex and will never be an act of sex.

Rape has nothing to do with sex. Rape is purely an act of violence and control. Plain and simple, violence and control are the key goals of most rapists. The criminal wishes to control the victim and, most times, the criminal exerts that control through violence or threats or both at once. Only once one realizes that rape has nothing to do with sex can one finally come to understand what rape really is.

Rape has never been about sex. When you hear a rapist claim that the act of rape was sex or consensual sex, right off the bat, you can pretty much guess that the criminal is fabricating a story. Rape is not about sex. Rape is not sex.

There is nothing sexy at all about rape, and anyone can fall victim to it. Rape does not discriminate on the basis of physical appearance, clothing, nationality, age, religion, ability, status, class, or nationality. Rapists are criminals and they will rape anyone that they want to rape. However, there are things that you can do to lessen your chances of being that next victim. There are no guarantees—just preparations and warnings.

Rape is not about asking for it.

No rape victim asks to be raped nor wants to be raped. When society does not understand the crime of rape, society ignorantly states that the victim asked for it. No one would want a violent crime committed against her, and that includes rape victims.

When we judge or stigmatize the victims of rape and when we allow rapists to go free, we allow society to think that is okay to rape.

Anyone can be a rapist.

All that is necessary is a violent nature and the wish to control another human being. A rapist can be a 18-year-old or a rapist can be a 78-year-old. Rapists do not fall into a particular category, description, or stereotype. Rapists know no limits and transcend all ages, professions, religions, classes, neighborhoods, ethnicities.

Marital/spousal rape

Rape happens within marriages and spousal relationships. Nevertheless, rape within a marriage is still rape. Rape is a crime. Yet, many boyfriends and husbands are never held accountable for this crime.

Young and inexperienced

What young men and women need to learn and to remember is that it does not matter what kind of date you have any more than it matters what kind of person you choose to date. Dating someone—going to a movie or having a casual dinner together—does not imply that one must have sex. Dating someone does constitute consent: dating someone not give anyone the authority or permission to rape another. Regardless of the money spent on a date, fancy restaurant, movie, or gift, noone has the right to demand sex from another. No means no.

Remember…

Under §273.1 of Canada's Criminal Code and in reference to sexual assaults, "consent" refers to:

the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Consent is not given if:

  • It is given by someone else;
  • The person is unconscious, drunk, stoned, or sleeping;
  • It is an abuse of power, trust, or authority;
  • The person does not say yes, says no, or through words or behavior implies no; or
  • The person changes her or his mind.

Sexual assault

Web resources

These are third-party resources and links will open a new browser window. As these are third-party resources, Women's Web claims no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided.

Men Can Stop Rape
Men Can Stop rape mobilizes male youth to prevent men's violence against women. It does this by building males' capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.

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