We are here to listen and support you. We can give you the information you need to make the right decisions for you.
What is rape?
Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes which happen when someone is made to take part in sexual acts they do not consent to. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act came into effect on 1 December 2010 defining rape as: penetration without consent, of the vagina, anus or mouth, by a penis.
What is sexual assault?
The Act also sets out a crime of sexual assault by penetration, which involves penetration of the vagina or anus by any object, without consent. If you were raped or sexually assaulted before the 1 December 2010, the previous law, rather than the Sexual Offences Act, will apply.
Sexual assault is a broad term which applies to many forms of sexual violence ranging from unwanted touching or kissing to being forced to perform sexual acts. Sexual violence happens irrespective of age, race, religion, gender, class, sexuality, whether able bodied or disabled.
No matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, you did not deserve this.
If you have just been raped – or if you are with someone who has just been raped:
Your immediate safety
If you are at home or in the home of someone else – has your attacker gone? If not, can you make yourself safe, contact a friend or family member or call the police? If you are in any danger call 999 immediately.
Do you have any injuries?
You may be in shock and be unable to feel any pain right now. Check if you are bleeding. If you have any physical injuries you should consider getting them treated by your doctor or at your local Accident and Emergency Department. You may need medical attention, especially if you are bleeding or in pain. If you feel worried or nervous it may help to take a friend for support. Some women find it helpful to have all their questions written down. Remember, no-one has the right to make you go through anything you don’t feel you are able to and you don’t have to tell the doctor about the rape or assault if you don’t want to.
Following a sexual assault you may be in shock. Shock can be displayed in many different ways: numbness, disbelief, shaking, laughing hysterically or being physically sick. You might continue with your daily routine as usual. Remember, everyone reacts and feels differently. Your feelings may keep changing over time and whatever you are feeling is a normal response to what has happened. You may feel it was your fault. It wasn’t. What happened to you should not have happened. It is important to try to look after yourself. Try to be patient and kind to yourself. Remember you are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings.
Pregnancy & STI’s
Following a rape or sexual assault you may have many issues to consider. It is important to consider the possibilities of injury, pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and whether or not to report the assault to the police. The amount of support and help you receive at this time can help you to overcome the initial shock and disruption to your life.
If there is a possibility of pregnancy you may want to take the morning after pill (effective for up to 72 hours after intercourse) or have a coil fitted (effective for up to 5 days after intercourse). If this course of action is right for you, go to your Family Planning Clinic or GP, or your local pharmacy. You may want to take a pregnancy test. You can ask your GP or the Family Planning Clinic (01896 663 700) to do a pregnancy test, or you can buy a home pregnancy-testing kit, which is accurate 2-3 weeks following conception. They are available from any chemist and most supermarkets and have clear instructions and are reliable.
If you know you are pregnant, you may want to talk to someone about what to do next. If you are comfortable talking to your GP they will go through the options with you, or you may prefer to talk to an SBRCC worker first. It is important that you know about all the options available and make the right decision for yourself. You might decide you want an abortion or you might decide that you want to continue with the pregnancy. It’s your life and nobody should try to pressure you into any decision. Access the support you need to make the decision that feels right for you.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
If you are worried that you may have caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI) it is a good idea to be tested. If you do have an STI, treatment can prevent you from becoming seriously ill. Some infections don’t display symptoms right away; only tests show them up. You can go to the Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) and Family Planning Clinic, The Health Centre, Currie Road, Galashiels to have tests done.
Their telephone number is 01896 663 700 or you can visit their website.
The GUM clinic provides confidential testing and women only sessions. All clinics, services and treatments are free. Everything that happens at the GUM clinic will be confidential and you do not have to tell them that you have been raped or sexually assaulted. You or your doctor can make an appointment and you don’t have to give your own name. You can take a friend for support.