Sexual violence, including rape

“No” means “No”. Sexual violence, including rape, occurs when a sexual act is committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent. This means that although a woman has had a drink with a man, has gone home together with him or has in any other way been acquainted with him, it is sexual violence and/or rape if she has not voluntarily given her consent out of free will. In other words, consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.

Police and other authorities often have an inadequate understanding of how sexual violence, including rape, is experienced. As a consequence of this, some women feel that they are not believed. Lack of understanding and a condemnatory environment can accentuate the trauma, which a great majority of rape victims experience. If the rape is not dealt with, it’s after effects, including anxiety, nightmares, depression and sexual difficulties, can continue long afterwards, perhaps for the rest of the victim’s life.

When reporting to the police, remember:

  • report the rape as quickly as possible, preferably in the police district where it has been committed;
  • do not tidy yourself up;
  • do not clean your body and do not change your clothes;
  • do not go to the police station alone;
  • bring along someone you know or a Joan Sister;
  • from the moment you report the rape, you have the right to free legal assistance from a lawyer (a so-called “Bistandsadvokat”). The police must inform you about this and summon the lawyer you choose. Always exercise this right;
  • stick to your account for what happened;
  • read through the police report and correct any misunderstandings;
  • do not sign the police report. This is not necessary and you are not obliged to do so. You have the opportunity to insert corrections and additions later;
  • remember that the police cannot ask questions related to previous sexual experiences unless it is of essential importance to the case.

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