Sexual abuse FAQs
Freezing, or not reacting physically, is a really common response to sexual violence. People respond to an assault in different ways.
Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape – in fact, many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be express (saying “no”) or it can be implied from the circumstances (for example, if you were under the legal age of consent, or if you had a mental incapacity, or if you were afraid to object because the perpetrator threatened you with serious physical injury).
Although it can feel as though your body has let you down, it has done what it can to keep you safe. Sexual violence against you is never your fault.
If you don't remember what happened, it means you were not in a position to give consent to having sex. Sex without consent is rape.
Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other “rape drugs”, or from excessive alcohol consumption.
What happened isn't your fault, and you have the right to access support. You can contact the National Rape Crisis Helpline or the Rape and Sexual Violence Project for support and guidance.
We hear "just say no" a lot but in reality we all communicate our "no" in different ways every day.
You may not say "no" because it doesn't feel safe to say it, or because you don't feel comfortable.
The other person is responsible for checking in with you and making sure you are OK.
However you communicate your "no", if it is ignored, that means you have not given your consent. Sex without consent is rape, and it's not your fault.
It does not matter whether the other person is your husband, a current boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend, a friend or a complete stranger, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is non-consensual this time, it is rape.
Information on where to get help is available on our rape and sexual assault page.
Rape can happen when the victim was unconscious or asleep. If you were asleep or unconscious, then you didn’t give consent. And if you didn’t give consent, then it is rape.
Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse – or an alibi. The key question is still did you consent or not?
Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is non-consensual, it is rape.
If you were unable to give consent because of the effects of alcohol or drugs, but somebody had sex with you anyway, that is rape and it is not your fault.