A woman has come forward to talk about what life has been like after she was raped by a stranger two and a half years ago. In a video released as part of ‘Rape Awareness Week’, the woman has told of how her confidence trust in people has been affected
In September 2009 the victim, on a night out in Southampton, had her drink spiked. The drugged and confused victim was led out of the venue by the perpetrator and was raped and left unconscious in a park.
By speaking out about her experience now, the victim hopes she can help others going through a similar experience think about getting the help and support they need, to deal with what has happened to them. She also sends a message to potential perpetrators, because their actions have a devastating and long-lasting impact on victims, and the victims’ family and friends.
On this occasion the victim in the video was raped by a stranger, but Hampshire Constabulary says there is an increasing trend in rapes involving people who know each other.
Almost half of all rapes reported to the force are acquaintance rapes.
Police say consent is one of the biggest issues in reported incidents of rape and sexual assault. Use of alcohol and drugs often impacts on judgement and the ability to make rational decisions, both on the part of the victim and the perpetrator.
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Snuggs of Hampshire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit said:
“Consent to have sexual intercourse should be actively made by both parties involved. Both individuals should have the freedom and ability to make the decision to have sex. If this ability to consent is not there or consent is withdrawn at any point but sex still takes place then this is rape.
“The consequences and implications of having sex with someone who has not consented are serious. The maximum sentence that a judge can impose is life imprisonment. But even if an offender doesn’t receive a sentence of this length, the conviction will remain with you for the rest of your life and you’ll be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
“It is vital to understand that anything less than a yes is a no, no matter the circumstances. Not being sure cannot be used as an excuse.”