The “ASK WARIF” Column is a monthly interactive section that will educate, motivate and encourage as we discuss all issues surrounding gender based violence and share some of our experiences working at the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre. All questions submitted will be answered by our team of experts and qualified personnel which include physicians, counsellors, lawyers, law enforcement and everyday women who have had personal encounters with rape and sexual violence and are willing to share their stories in the hope that it helps prevent the next woman from experiencing the same.
Q – What is Rape?
A – Rape can be described as forced sexual intercourse without Consent. It involves penetration which could be vaginal, anal or oral. This penetration may be with a body part or an object. It is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, inflicted on someone without their consent.
An important element of rape as highlighted above is Consent – Sexual Consent is the mutual agreement to participate in sexual activity by two adults. Both parties must agree to have sexual relations, every single time, for it to be consensual. It must be mutual, ongoing, verbal, enthusiastic and sober.
Each survivor has a unique experience when it comes to consent and it is common to wonder if their specific circumstance constitutes rape. If you are wondering if you were raped because of the description of consent above, you probably were. Many circumstances can indicate a lack of consent which include:
- The inability to give consent due to age (sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18 is statutory rape)
- The inability to give consent due to a blatant refusal or a NO
- The inability to give consent due to inebriation (being drunk or unstable)
- The inability to give consent due to physical force or pressure from the perpetrator
In a situation where the survivor says “NO” and intercourse is still forced on them, it is considered rape. It does not matter if it is at the beginning or in the middle of the act. It doesn’t matter if it is a close friend or a stranger; it is rape if the other party doesn’t immediately stop as consent can be rescinded at any point in time, under any circumstances.
It is still considered rape even if the survivor:
- Did not physically fight back
- Did not scream
- Did not report the incident to the authorities
- Is friends or in a relationship with the perpetrator
It is important to note that rape can happen to anyone but it is never the fault of the survivor. It does not matter what she was wearing, where she was or what she was doing – it is always the fault of the perpetrator/rapist as rape is a conscious decision.
If you have been raped or you know someone who has, please visit us at The WARIF Centre – 6, Turton Street, off Thorburn Avenue, Sabo, Yaba or call our 24 hour confidential helpline on 08092100009