Sexual Violence

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between childhood sexual abuse and rape?

Both are forms of sexual violence, but they represent different crimes.
Childhood sexual abuse is the involvement of a child under 16 in unwanted sexual activity that he/she does not fully understand or consent to, and is not legally old enough to consent to (e.g. explicit/sexual talk, touching/groping; showing pornography; rape).  The Law in Scotland says that anyone under the age of 16 is not old enough to consent to sex.
Rape is defined by the law in Scotland as penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by the penis without consent.

What does date rape mean?

Date rape happens when someone is forced to have sexual intercourse (e.g., using threats, physical violence, alcohol or drugs) by a person they have been going out with or seeing, or that they have just met. Remember that no one has the right to force you to have sex. You have the right to say no and that should be respected.


Does sexual abuse always involve physical violence?

Sexual abuse does not always occur by using physical violence or strength. The offender can use subtle or non physical strategies to achieve the same goals: threats, blackmail, put the victim in a state of unconsciousness, take advantage of the victim’s trust in him/her or confusing the victim (especially when the victims are children, making them believe that what happened is normal).

Does sexual abuse happen because of the victim’s provocative behaviour?

No. This is an excuse that offenders often use to undermine their actions. Whatever the victim's behaviour, it can never be used to justify sexual abuse. The person responsible for sexual abuse is the offender and never the victim of such violence.

Is it only considered sexual abuse when sexual intercourse is forced?

No. Sexual abuse covers a range of sexual acts. Penetration/sexual intercourse is just one example. There are other examples: forcing of oral sex or masturbation; unwanted fondling of the private parts; being forced to watch, or participate in, material of erotic or pornographic nature; being involved in prostitution.


Is it the victim’s fault If he/she is raped when drunk or under the influence of drugs?

No! Regardless of any circumstances and the victim’s behavior, the only person responsible for sexual violence is the offender (never the victim). If the victim is under the influence of drugs and alcohol then they are not able to make informed decisions about their behavior. The offender is wrongly taking the victim’s condition as a sign that the act will be easier to accomplish (the offender is well aware that the victim is not fine and that sexual intercourse will not be consensual or decided together). Whether the victim never said “yes” or whether he/she said “yes” initially but then changed his/her mind (to “no”), the other person must respect that and not instigate any sexual involvement.

Is it possible to feel pleasure during forced sex?

Yes. It is possible that you felt pleasure during a forced sexual interaction for a very simple reason: our bodies are designed to react to sexual touching. The reproductive system, the hormonal system and the nervous system are the main mechanisms responsible for this internal body process.
It is important to remember that, even if you felt some pleasure, that doesn’t mean that you enjoyed it, nor does it mean that you are guilty in any way for the sexual violence.