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Can't say no? It's still rape

Campaign launched to define the crime

Written by . Published on January 11th 2012.

Can't say no? It's still rape

IN CASE you were unsure what rape actually means, a campaign raise awareness of the definition is being launched in Liverpool.

“Can’t answer? Can’t Consent. Sex without consent is rape” is the message of the new drive which also reminds people that drinking alcohol could to lead to a whole heap of trouble.

The push follows research which has shown that both victims and perpetrators are not always clear what constitutes rape and aims to dispel myths surrounding the subject.


The campaign, being run by Citysafe, Liverpool’s community safety partnership, is aimed predominantly at 18 to 24 year old men but the wider message is: if anyone is incapable of agreeing or giving consent to sex, then this is rape.

Research has highlighted misunderstanding among students and other young adults; some believed a verbal “no” had to be given or physical injury suffered before it constituted rape. This means victims may not report sexual assault to the police or seek help and support to deal with the experience.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, city council cabinet member for community safety, said; “This is a vital issue.

 “Giving consent has to be a positive act. It is not a defence to say that the woman did not say no if she was not in a condition to do so because she had been drinking, for example.”

The campaign messages will feature on posters and beer mats in bars in the city centre; on Facebook and student safety websites. 

Detective Inspector Steve Jones from Merseyside Police and CPS's rape investigation team, Unity, said: "Rape is an extremely serious sexual offence and one that victims often find incredibly difficult to tell anyone about, let alone the police.

“That is why Merseyside Police has a dedicated team of specially trained detectives on hand 24 hours a day to treat victims with the sensitivity and compassion they deserve.

“If a person does not or cannot give consent then the other person is committing a serious criminal offence and will face the full force of the law." 

Where to go

Victims of rape and sexual assault can seek help and advice from the following local specialised services:

• SAFE Merseyside provides medical and practical support to both males and females who have been raped or sexually assaulted. They can be contacted on 0151 295 3550 or here
• Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre for Liverpool-Sefton-Wirral can be contacted on 0151 650 0155 and also offer support and practical help.


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