Rape is about power and control, not about sex.
Nobody ever asks or deserves to be raped.
What is rape?
Rape is forcing someone to have sex against their will. It is mostly women who report being raped, but men can also be victims.
Sexual assault covers any sort of unwanted sexual contact or behaviour.
A rape victim often knows their attacker - it could be a member of their family or someone they know socially.
Even if you are in a relationship with someone, you can report that person for rape if they force you to have sex.
When a victim is under 18, rape is often described as child abuse.
Drug and date rape
Some cases of rape happen when someone is given drugs without their knowledge. Drugs can be added to a drink or food without the victim noticing, causing confusion and memory loss.
To stay safe when you're out, never accept a drink from someone you've never met before and never leave your drink unattended, even when you're going to the toilet.
The Roofie Foundation specialises in helping victims of drug-assisted rape and sexual assault. It operates a 24-hour helpline and provides safety tips.
What to do if you've been raped or sexually assaulted
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. You can ask to speak to an officer who is the same sex as you and they will take details of the offence. They will also arrange for you to speak to an officer who is specially trained in interviewing people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
These officers are called SOLOs (Sexual Offences Liaison Officers). Part of the investigation will include examining the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked and you might also have a medical examination. Northumbria Police has its own specialist Rape Investigation Team aiming to provide a better service for victims and bring more offenders to justice.
Northumbria also has the REACH (Rape, Examination, Advice, Counselling and Help) service which is free and confidential and available to both men and women over the age of 16 who have been raped or sexually assaulted, whether or not they wish to report the assault to the police. There are REACH centres in both Newcastle and Sunderland. Visit the REACH website here.