Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity, including rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Sexual violence also includes sexualised behaviour that is humiliating, intimidating or hostile and may include actions like derogatory name calling, belittling remarks, insults, threats, unwanted personal attention.
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a stranger or by someone known and even trusted, including a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.
Anyone, of any gender or sexual orientation, can be subjected to sexual violence.
Rape and sexual assault
In the UK, rape is legally defined as the penetration with a penis of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without their consent.
Penetration of another person's vagina, mouth or anus with any part of the body other than the penis or any object without their consent, is classed as sexual assault by penetration. It can carry the same sentences as rape.
Sexual or indecent assault is defined as an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation, in the form of a sexual act, inflicted upon someone without their consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts.
Everyone has the right to say 'no' to sex, to withdraw or withhold their consent for any sexual act, on any occasion and under any circumstances, regardless of whether they've given consent to sex with that person in the past and regardless of whether they're in a relationship with the other person.
What to do if you are affected by any of these issues
If you experience serious assault or sexual violence and are in danger, or you witness a serious assault or sexual violence and the person involved is in danger, it is particularly important that you seek help immediately. You should therefore report it to the University in the first instance. If you are on Colchester campus, contact the Information Centre on Square 2, either in person or by calling extension 2222 or 01206 872222. If you are on Southend Campus, contact University Square Reception either in person or by calling 01702 328400 or 07872 7988085. If you are on Loughton Campus, call reception during office hours on extension 5983 or 020 8508 5983 or security from 5pm to midnight (Monday to Saturday) on 07825 670709). The University will advise you on reporting to the Police and can also send Patrol Officers to the site of the incident.
If it is a non-emergency then you can report it online and someone will contact you within 3 working days, or you may decide to report an incident anonymously. This means that the incident will be logged for statistical purposes, however we are unable to take any direct action on anonymous reports.
- Rape crisis England and Wales - https://rapecrisis.org.uk/sexualharassment.php
- An extensive list of what is defined as sexual harassment from the UN - http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/whatissh.pdf
- Synergy - sexual abuse and rape support in Essex - https://synergyessex.org.uk/about.php
- Centre for action on Rape and Abuse in Essex - https://caraessex.org.uk/
- SERICC (South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre) - https://www.sericc.org.uk/