Sex must always be about consent and choice. Every single time. If you can’t make a choice freely, if you are physically restrained, if you haven’t or can’t agree to a sexual activity by choice, whether you’re in a relationship or not, this is sexual violence and it’s a crime.

Words like ‘sexual assault’, ‘sexual violence’, and ‘rape’ can sound scary but it’s important to label these types of crimes for exactly what they are. Not doing so can minimise sexual violence, and every victim of it deserves much more than that. 

There is sometimes a perception that rape is only ever committed by a stranger. This can happen, but only 9% of rapes are committed by strangers. More often victims of rape know their attacker. It is often a partner, an ex partner, an acquaintance or someone in their own family.

When it comes to sex if you’re in an intimate relationship and someone is pressuring you to do something, forcing you, making you feel uncomfortable, trying to control you, that’s never ever OK.

Being in a relationship doesn't give one person sexual ‘ownership’ of another person.

Sexual assault and rape within families and intimate relationships can form horrific patterns of abuse. There are some victims that sadly don’t even recognise that they are being sexually assaulted or raped because it is being done by their partner.

Rape is never about love. It is not about sex. It is about control and is an act of violence.

If you’re a woman and what you've just read makes you want to find out more information or support for you or someone you know you can contact Devon Rape Crisis Service.

If you’re a man and what you’ve just read makes you want to find more information or support for you or someone you know you can contact ManKind.

If you’re Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual or Transgender you can use the contacts above, but if you'd feel more comfortable you can contact the Intercom Trust