What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault means being made to take part in any sexual activity or being touched in a sexual way without your agreement. The law says your agreement must be given freely for it to count.

It’s not always easy to know if you’ve experienced sexual assault in the context of a relationship, sexual encounter or a place where flirting, cruising or being sexual is what you’re there for. It can be difficult to know for sure if you’ve willingly taken part in sex but then it’s progressed in a way you’ve been uncomfortable about.  If alcohol or drugs are involved it can be especially difficult to remember clearly that a sexual assault has taken place.

Often, though, people have a strong gut feeling that something has happened that felt wrong. You need to trust this feeling and get some support to talk it through from a trusted friend or an organisation like Galop.

Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes that have severe and often life-long consequences for victims. Victims have a right to speak up about their experiences, get help and support, and report to the police. Those who commit sexual assault have to live with the knowledge of what they’ve done and, potentially, a criminal record and life on the sex offenders register. Sexual assault should never be treated lightly or as an ‘occupational hazard’ or a normal part of relationships.

Do what you both want is a campaign that aims to promote honest, clear communication around sex between guys. We recognise that the context within which guys are having sex sometimes means things happen that people don’t want and, perhaps, don’t always mean to happen. We don’t think it’s OK to accept that sexual assault is an ‘occupational hazard’ of sex in these sorts of contexts. It doesn’t have to be this way. Men don’t want to experience sexual assault and most guys don’t want to be accused of it. So let’s start being honest about what’s happening and changing how we deal with our communication and behaviour so sex can be good for everyone!

Talk, listen, think…