- Myths and Facts about Rape
- Date rape and Corrective Rape
- Short and Long Term Effects of Rape and Sexual Abuse
- Reasons For and Advice on Self-Injury
- Ritual Abuse
- Rape and the Criminal Justice System
Myths and Facts about RapeMyths about rape are all about shifting the responsibility for the crime from the perpetrator to the victim. Rape and sexual assault are about power and violence, not sex. The vast majority of sexual assaults are planned carefully and are not committed because of uncontrollable sexual urges.
Myth – A rapist is a stranger.
Fact – Over 50% of women know their attacker in some capacity, for example, friend, lover, colleague, husband, ex-partner, neighbour.
Myth – Rape only happens in dark alleys.
Fact – 60% of women are attacked inside a building, and for 31% of women rape occurs in their own home - the most common place of all.
Myth – Women get raped because they are dressed provocatively.
Fact – If a man decides to rape someone, it makes no difference what she is wearing.
Myth – Rapists are monsters/maniacs.
Fact – Rapists are ordinary men, many are highly respected members of the community and in 1980 in England and Wales, only 2% of convicted rapists were considered to be in need of psychiatric treatment.
Myth – Rape is a crime of sexual needs or uncontrollable urges.
Fact – Men can, and do, control their sexual urges. Rape is a crime of violence, control, degradation and intimidation - it is not about sex but about power. The vast majority of rapes are carefully planned.
Myth – Women say "no" but they mean "yes".
Fact – When women say no they mean no. Sex without consent is rape.
Myth – She didn't struggle so she was not raped.
Fact – Most women are too afraid to struggle because of threats of violence if they make a sound.
Myth – Women enjoy rape. Some women ask for it. Women lead the rapist on.
Fact – It is handy to be able to blame the woman in this way - it lets the attackers off the hook and it helps other people to feel safe. If you believe that women are to blame when they suffer rape, then you might imagine that you could protect yourself by being careful and sensible. The truth is that an attack can take place against any woman, at any time, and in any place. Suffering rape is a traumatic violation. The victim is often afraid that her attacker will kill her. She may try to calm the rapist down by pretending that she is enjoying herself. Rape is the sole responsibility of the rapist, regardless of anything a woman may do to survive.
Date RapeA concept which has reached us from the U.S. Rape perpetrated within the confines of a 'date' situation i.e. where the woman has willingly met the man, but then at some stage has been raped.
Acquaintance RapeRape perpetrated by a person known to the victim, but not a close friend. May be known through employment or general social contact.
Who Rapes on a Date?Boyfriend, past or present, Ex-husband or partner, Lonely hearts respondent/pen-pal, etc
Who Rapes an Acquaintance?
- Friend, or partner of friend
- Work colleague
- Distant family member
- Clients - of prostitutes, estate agents etc.
A perpetrator's usual defence is that there was consent, which amounts to her word against his. Date and acquaintance rape are notoriously difficult to prove without corroborative evidence, e.g. signs of struggle or neighbours overhearing, and even then convictions are rare.
In America, about 80% of rapists are known to the victims; often the rape has been carefully planned and15-20% of survivors said their attacker wore a condom to avoid being convicted by DNA testing. Some women also report being forced to bathe after the rape.
In our experience, date and acquaintance rape can be as traumatic for a survivor as rape by a stranger. Imagine how hard it would be to trust anyone after being raped by someone you thought was a friend
Imagine how difficult it would be to see your rapist at work every day because you thought no-one would believe you if you told.
Corrective rape is a term used to denote incidents where lesbians are raped as a punishment for their sexuality and to "cure" them. It is therefore a direct and targeted attack against a person's sexuality and gender. According to an ActionAid report, women who have experienced "corrective rape" say that,
verbal abuse before and during the rape focused on being “taught a lesson” and being “shown how to be real women and what a real man tasted like”. In other words, women who choose not to identify as heterosexual are being victimised for being ‘abnormal’– for daring to step outside the boundaries of what their families, communities and wider society prescribe for them." (2009: 12)This is a blatant and violent expression of homphobia and has consequences for women in the aftermath of the incident(s), for example, women may call into question her sexality and her identity.
Short and Long Term Effects of Rape and Sexual AbuseThe trauma experienced by women and girls following rape and/or sexual assault may manifest itself either immediately after the attack or, as is frequently the case, some long time afterwards. Attacks affect all individuals differently, but many of the following are common in survivors:
- Physical injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Feeling of powerlessness
- Physical repulsion
- Loss of control
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Para-suicide (this is when a person self-harms or makes a suicidal gesture but does not intent to kill themselves)
- Lack of self-esteem
- Eating disorders
- Sexual problems
- Physical problems
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Alienation and aloneness
- Never able to trust anyone
Reasons For and Advice on Self-Injury
Possible reasons for Self-Injury
- As a victim decides when or how to hurt themselves, it can be a way to feel as if they have some control over their lives. Physical pain can block out deeper, emotional pains.
- It is a way of externally demonstrating inner pains.
- It may be done as a punishment for their own guilt or shame.
- It may be seen as a way of releasing the 'evil' inside.
- It might be an attempt to hurt or destroy a 'bad' part of the self. Or another personality in cases of Multiple Personality Disorder.
- It might cleanse or destroy a part of the body associated with the abuse.
- It is sometimes a way of preventing overwhelming memories - the physical sensation of pain brings a victim back to the 'here and now' and saves them from having to confront painful memories.
- Seeing your own blood or feeling your own pain is a way of proving to yourself that you are still alive. This can be especially important where abuse has left the victim emotionally numb.
- Dressing a self inflicted wound can give a sense of comfort which is missing when the victim gets no care from anyone else, or it can seem like justified care when they feel as if they do not deserve to be looked after.
- It is a special secret - something which the victim keeps exclusively for themselves.
Practical Advice on Self-Injury
- Self-injury whilst on drugs or alcohol can go wrong - a caller may do more damage than intended.
- A tetanus jab should be renewed every 10 years.
- Self-harm should only be done with clean implements that are not shared.
- If Para suicide is the method of self harm, the victim should try and be informed about the drugs they use - even over the counter drugs can be dangerous, for example, paracetamol can cause liver damage even in fairly small doses.
- If a victim feels their urge to self-harm is life threatening, it is a good idea for them to try and be with other people, preferably away from implements etc, until the crisis passes - and it always will.
- Cuts should be cleaned and dressed with 'steri' strips or non-stick dressing.
- Burns should be run under cold water and left to the air, unless they are severe enough to require a suitable burns dressing.
- The body will be in shock, so the victim should try and rest after self-harming.
- Although most self-harmers will refuse medical attention, the following situations would ideally receive professional treatment:
- Cuts which are very deep and very wide
- Blood that spurts or bleeding that will not stop
- Burns or scalds larger than a 50p piece
- Wounds that are swollen, hot or producing pus
Information:Most sexual abuse of children is ritualised in some way. Abusers use repetition, routine and ritual to coerce children into patterns of behaviour in order to instil fear and ensure silence. Bath-times, nursery rhymes or bedtime stories, gifts, elaborate games, dressing up, taking photographs or exchanging secrets are all tactics which abusers use to gain the trust of a new victim. The sexual abuse of children is never a random act of lust - just as stranger rape is rarely a spontaneous, unplanned crime - it always involves thorough planning and preparation. A paedophile ring will often be geared up to record abuse on film and distribute the resulting photographs or videos. This 'pornography' is used by paedophiles for their own gratification and to prepare children for abuse. Some groups use elaborate rituals in order to terrify children into silence, by convincing them of the absolute power of their abusers. Religious practices and beliefs may be invoked - Christian or pagan Gods and demons can be enlisted to serve the abusers' ends. An animal may be tortured, killed, or 'brought back to life' to demonstrate the power of the group. When you consider how many adults believe in the power of good or evil, it is easy to see how easy it is to convince children that magic and illusion is reality. Children, after all, are generally taught to believe adults, and abusers exploit this trust and feed children's imaginations.
Ritual abuse is simply a form of group abuse of children - the use of religious chanting, imagery etc adds a powerful angle, and will often dominate the flashbacks and nightmares suffered by the children. Many ritual abuse survivors will have been given a trigger to control them when the abuser is not present - this trigger is usually an everyday object such as a clock, ornament or an everyday phrase which will constantly remind them of the abuse and the fact that something terrible will happen if they disclose it to anyone. It is not surprising that many survivors are frightened of speaking out. Child sexual abuse is always about power and secrecy. Until the early 1980's, childhood sexual abuse was not seen as widespread; but as more and more survivors spoke out, society has had to listen. Despite official reports concluding that satanic abuse is not occurring in the UK, survivors are speaking out, and it is clear that paedophile rings, often involving many members of the same family, do engage in this ritualised form of abuse.
Survivors will often talk of a number of differing experiences, but many elements of ritual abuse are common:
- Elaborate rituals, 'games' and 'ceremonies'
- Systematic emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
- Being used in child pornography and prostitution.
- Being forced to take drugs and alcohol.
- Being tortured almost to the point of death.
- Being forced to participate in the abuse of others
InformationReproduced with the kind permission of Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre.
Flashbacks - What are they?Many women who are survivors of any form of sexual violence experience flashbacks at one time or another. Flashbacks are temporary states of remembering something painful or traumatic which has been hidden for quite some time in the subconscious mind and during a flashback; you may feel as though aspects of the rape or sexual assault are actually happening to you now. The duration of a flashback differs and could last from a few seconds to a few hours.
When do flashbacks occur ?Flashbacks can occur at unpredictable and unexpected times. They can be triggered by anything that serves as a reminder of the rape or assault or the perpetrator, for example they can occur if you're feeling any of the following:
- Low or vulnerable
- Helpless or powerless
- Exhausted or tired
- Sad or tearful
- Angry or resentful
- Embarrassed or ashamed
- Anxious or worried
- Trapped or hounded
- Sexual or intimate
- Happy or excited
- Calm or relaxed
Someone who's physical appearance reminds you of the perpetrator, including:
- Facial features
Visual flashbacks:This is like watching a film or slideshow of the original rape or assault. You may experience this as happening inside your head or you may experience this as happening outside of you and involving other people. This might be likely to happen if people around you remind you of the rape/assault or the perpetrator by doing or saying similar things. You may find yourself watching and/or re-experiencing all of the rape/assault scene or tiny fragments of it. The images you see could be clear or distorted and you may see the same picture from different angles at different times. For example, you may see a picture of the perpetrator coming towards you, or grabbing you and you may then re-experience the feelings you had when you were raped or assaulted; or you may see the perpetrator and yourself in the same picture, so you are watching the picture from an observers perspective and you may feel cut off from any feeling.
Auditory flashbacks:This is described as hearing conversations or sounds which are associated with the rape/assault. You might experience these sounds as being inside your head or outside of you i.e. in the same room. These sounds could be clear or distorted and may sound near or far away.
Sensory flashbacks:This is described as feeling bodily sensations associated with the rape/assault. This type of flashback could manifest in the following ways:
- You may feel as if you are being touched on any part of your body when in reality, there is no one there. This could range from feeling someone touch your arm to feeling as though someone is lying on top of you.
- Depending on the severity of this experience, you may feel anxious, frightened, confused or that you are going mad, particularly if you do not understand what is happening to you, or if you try to consciously stop it happening and are unable to.
These sensations could be experienced as happening anywhere on, or inside of your body.
This type of flashback can also include strong, overwhelming sensations of taste and/or smell.
How can I help myself during and after flashbacks?If you have experienced one or more flashbacks, you may be feeling frightened, confused, disorientated, and/or overwhelmed. Theses feelings are understandable and they are normal reactions to what can be a terrifying experience. You are not going mad or crazy; you are remembering experiences, feelings, thoughts and images, which were too frightening or impossible to deal with at the time that they occurred. There are no specific reactions to a flashback.Every reaction to a flashback is an individual response, usually based on the ways in which you coped with the rape or assault. For example: You may experience a flashback and feel very numb; you may have shut your feelings down and may watch the rape or assault scene as though it were happening to someone else.
You may feel nauseous, as if you are going to be physically sick, or you may actually vomit.
You may feel absolute terror, as if you are going to die.
You may experience panic attacks and feel totally out of control
Although they can feel very frightening, flashbacks are actually a good sign that you are unearthing the buried trauma and that you are on your way to recovery. It is important that you reassure yourself with the knowledge that this is a temporary state, it will not last forever and through time, the flashback will reduce in frequency and intensity. You may find yourself trying to avoid all potential triggers for these memories. This is not possible as there are so many situations that could trigger memories. While it is not possible to control the nature and strength of the flashbacks, you can do a lot of things to help lessen the power and impact that they have on your life.
Take yourself to a safe placeThis may be in your home, curled up on the settee with a warm quilt around you, or in the bath, or in your favourite chair, or at a good friends house. Go wherever you need to go, in order to feel safe and where you know you will be safe. If you are not able to go to a safe place at the time of the flashback, remind yourself that what you have experienced is a memory, take several deep breaths and promise yourself that as soon as you can, you will take time out to explore the flashback in more detail.
Don't fight the flashbackAlthough this may feel difficult, try to breathe deeply and let the memory surface. Using alcohol, solvents, drugs, food and/or self-injury etc. to bury the feelings from a flashback can actually add to and prolong the trauma of recovering buried memories. It can be hard to change these familiar coping mechanisms and old habits die hard, however it will be very helpful to you in the long run if you can manage to avoid coping with flashbacks in this way. If you try to ignore or push away emerging memories they are likely to feel stronger and more powerful as they fight for recognition.
Ground yourselfRemind yourself of the day, date, time etc .Look at your surroundings, where you are right now. Remind yourself of how old you are, where you live etc. Try to let part of yourself stay in the present while, at the same time allowing yourself to remember your past.
Remind yourself that this is a memoryThis is a memory of something that has already happened to you and you have survived it. Reassure yourself that you are not being hurt in the present, even though you may feel as though it is happening now. It is important that you keep on reminding yourself that you have come through this experience and that you are now on the road to recovery.
Give yourself space and time to recoverReliving memories can be a painful and exhausting experience. It may take several hours or days for you to feel okay again. If you need to rest, sleep, cry or be angry, give yourself permission to do so. Don't jump up and try to do something else straight away.
Write about your memoryIf you feel able to, write down what you remember from the flashback. This can help to 'get it out' of your mind by putting it on paper. This can also be used as a diary or journal of your recovery. Useful things to write about may be:
- What you remembered
- How you felt at the time
- How you feel now
Comfort yourselfAfter having one or more flashbacks, you may feel vulnerable and low. This is the time to give yourself a reward or treat for all of your hard work. It will be helpful if you can do something that makes you feel good, for example, a warm aromatherapy/bubble bath, a drink of hot chocolate or milk, a bunch of flowers, a long relaxing walk, meeting with supportive friends, seeing a movie, listening to your favourite music, cooking your favourite food etc.
Talk about the flashbackEven though you may feel like keeping the flashback to yourself, it can be really helpful if you share it with a supportive person. In talking it through you may gain more insight to yourself and it may help you to put your experience into perspective. Remember, you have not done anything wrong, being raped or assaulted was not your fault and you do not have to suffer in silence. Give yourself permission to receive support and understanding from others.
Be proud of yourselfYou have come through a frightening experience and you're still in one piece. You have let yourself remember a very traumatic time in your life and that takes a lot of courage and strength to do .Through this process of remembering and acknowledging your past, you have moved deeper into your journey of healing and have grown a little bit more. Well done!
Rape and the Criminal Justice SystemNegative attitudes towards rape are deeply enshrined within the Criminal Justice System. Both criminal procedure and the law of rape are constructed from a male perspective. Common misconceptions such as 'all women fantasise about rape', 'she asks for it' and 'no means yes' shape much of the legal process. To illustrate this, it is necessary to examine the different stages of the Criminal Justice System.
ReportingBefore a rape can be dealt with legally, it must be reported to the police. Recent statistics reveal that only a tiny proportion of offences are actually reported. Statistics released last year show that between 120,000 and 300,000 women were raped or sexually assaulted. This starkly compares with just 6,000 cases of rape and 17,500 incidents of sexual assault that were reported to the police. Reasons for under reporting include fear of the Criminal Justice System itself. Women fear that the police will not believe them. They also fear that if the case goes to trial, they will be subjected to brutal cross-examination. To what extent are these fears justified?
Treatment by the PoliceThe police have previously been criticised for questioning women from the premise of disbelief. They often employed excessive questioning techniques that made the woman feel like a perpetrator rather than the victim. Media attention during the 1980's has resulted in the police revising their practices and now police stations have 'sympathetic rape suites' where trained officers interview women. Since the police have revised their approach, the incidences of complaints have fallen, but convictions are still very rare.
Treatment by the Crown Prosecution ServiceThe police are no longer responsible for bringing the prosecution. An independent body called the CPS now conducts this. The CPS is responsible for examining the evidence provided by the police and deciding whether to prosecute. The CPS has been highly criticised for treating rape cases differently to other cases. Over the years the decision to prosecute in rape cases have fallen dramatically. During the mid 1980s, 50% of reported cases were prosecuted. By 1993 this had dropped to less than 1 in 5, and in 1999, the figure had not improved. The CPS has argued that it has refused to prosecute on the grounds of insufficient evidence and it denies that it treats rape cases differently. It has been argued that the CPS does treat these cases differently because of the level of trauma experienced by the witness. They are usually subjected to barbaric questioning and prosecutors are reluctant to allow women to experience this unless they have high levels of evidence.
Treatment by the Courts
- The Trial
- Who Can Rape
- There Must be sexual intercourse
- There must be consent
- What if the man thinks the woman is consenting
- The Corroboration Rule
- Judges Summing Up
- Conviction Rates
- Other Sexual Offences
Pre TrialIf the CPS decides to prosecute, the case will be submitted to the Crown Court. It is classified as an indictable offence, which means that it is considered to be a serious offence. The evidence is then examined for a second time by three magistrates. This is otherwise known as committal proceedings and it occurs for all indictable offences. Here the magistrates make sure that there is enough evidence for a jury to convict on. It is possible for them to throw the case out at this stage. It is unusual for witnesses to appear at this stage, as the magistrate will simply examine the witness statements. However, it is not uncommon for the defendant to request an old style committal. If this happens, the witness will be called to give evidence and under-go cross-questioning from a defence solicitor. Here the defendant argues that there is no case to answer. This means that there is not enough evidence for a jury to convict on. The magistrate will then decide whether to proceed with the case. Although all defendants have the right to submit 'no case to answer', the right is abused in rape cases. It means that witnesses will have to make two court appearances, which is extremely traumatic. It is used to try and frighten and traumatise the witness so that she withdraws her complaint.
The TrialThe prosecution must prove that rape has occurred and this is extremely difficult. Prior to the trial, the prosecution barrister will not have any contact with the witness. At the very most the barrister will be briefly introduced to the witness before the trial begins. A recent survey has revealed that two thirds of prosecution barristers did not even say hello to the survivor before entering the court. The prosecution usually questions the survivor in a gentle way. She will be asked to recount her version of events. All the questioning tactics of the prosecution are non-aggressive. After the prosecution has questioned the witness, the defence barrister will engage in aggressive cross-questioning. Here, the defence barrister will try to discredit the witness and expose her as a liar. This usually entails drawing on her sexual history and relying on prejudices such as 'no means yes' and 'she was asking for it'. In a 2000 survey, two thirds of women whose cases went to court were asked who they'd had sex with. More than three quarters said that they were the ones who felt as though they were on trial. Many women have their medical records called before the court. One woman said that her termination and her previous Post Natal Depression were brought up and discussed, and such incidents are very common. Having established that the trial is a traumatic event, it is necessary to examine how and why the law enables a survivor to be treated in this way.
Who Can Rape?Section 1. of The Sexual Offences Act 1956 states that it is an offence for a man to rape a woman. This has since been reformed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which now makes it an offence for a man to rape another man. This was previously treated by the offence of buggery. Previously, boys under 14 could not be convicted of rape as it was presumed that they were not capable. This has now been abolished by the Sexual Offences Act 1993. Until recently, it has always been considered that it was legally impossible for a woman to commit the offence of rape; however, last year saw the first successful prosecution of a woman tried for this offence.
There must be sexual intercourseIn order for the offence to be rape, there must be sexual intercourse. The 1994 Act, states that penetration must occur by the penis of the vagina or anus. This is a welcome extension of the law. There does not need to be ejaculation but there must be penetration. However, penetration must take place by the penis only; if it occurs with objects or other parts of the body, it will be classed as the lesser offence of sexual assault. There have been many calls for the extension of the law to cover these types of penetration but the government have so far refused. If a woman consents to sexual intercourse but later withdraws it, a continuation of the act will be classed as rape.
There must be consentThe most obvious line of defence is that the woman consented to sexual intercourse. There has been much debate as to what amounts to consensual sex. It is now accepted that the consent must be genuine and not a mere submission under pressure. For example, if a woman consents to sex because she fears for her safety, this will not be treated as genuine consent. In another case, a defendant who had sex with the victim whilst she was asleep was convicted of rape. If consent is gained fraudulently, then the act will be classed as rape. The law accepts two types of fraudulence. The first is where the defendant impersonates a boyfriend or husband; the second is where the defendant abuses a position of power. Two such cases include a surgeon who told the victim he was performing a surgical operation when in fact he was performing sexual intercourse and a singing teacher who told a pupil that her breathing would be greatly improved by having sexual intercourse with him. Until 1991, it was legal for a husband to rape his wife. This has its roots in the belief that when a woman marries, she becomes the property of her husband. The fact that it has taken until 1991 shows clearly sexist attitudes towards women. The law of consent enshrines sexist attitudes towards women. This defence is used as a vehicle to degrade women as sexual double standards are used as a weapon against her. The defence barrister will try to argue that if a woman has consented to sex with other men, then she is likely to consent to anyone. Alternatively, in the case of date rape, if she consents to some intimacy, then she gives up the right to control her own body and therefore consents to all levels of intimacy. The implication here is that 'she's asking for it'. This contributes to the myth that only good women deserve protection from rape. The law blatantly allows sexual double standards to be used against women by allowing her previous sexual history to be drawn upon. The sexual Offences Act 1976 states that the defence must gain permission from the judge before he may draw upon past sexual experiences. The judge may give that permission if he feels that it is relevant to the trial. In the majority of cases, the judge will give that permission and this in turn results in the woman feeling as though she is on trial.
What if a man thinks the woman is consenting?The defendant to be convicted of rape must either know that the woman is not consenting or not careless as to whether the woman is consenting. However, problems arise when the defendant honestly believes that the woman is consenting. The Law's response to this question is typically male and is very shocking. Originally, mistake was only allowed if it was a reasonable mistake to make. This situation has now changed due to a case called Morgan. In this case, Morgan had been drinking with three strangers and invited them back to have sex with his wife. He told them that she would protest, kick and scream to enhance her sexual pleasure. On arrival home, Morgan dragged her out of bed and then the three men forced her to have sex with them. She struggled and protested and was taken to hospital afterwards with severe injuries. The case appealed to the House of Lords, which stated that the mistake did not need to be reasonable. If the three men believed that there was consent then they were not guilty. (The three men however were convicted on the grounds that the jury did not believe their story). The law on this situation now states that the mistake does not need to be reasonable. As long as the defendant believes the victim to be consenting, then he will not be guilty. This confirms that the law is constructed from a male perspective and partly explains the alarming level of acquittals.
The Corroboration RuleUntil 1994 a mandatory corroboration ruling had to be given at a rape trial. This meant that the judge always had to give a ruling that it was unwise to convict on the woman's evidence alone, if there was no other evidence to corroborate what she was saying. This warning was not attached to other offences where there was no corroborating evidence, only rape cases. This therefore implied that women were liars by nature. It has been recommended that this rule be removed. The 1994 Act has removed it, but judges are still allowed to use it at their discretion. Therefore the 1994 Act has not gone far enough in redressing the balance.
The Judge's Summing UpOver 80% of Judges in England are white men who went to public school AND Oxford or Cambridge. They tend to be elderly and are often out of touch with reality. They have been known to try to influence the jury when summing up. Some famous quotes include: 'It is a well known fact that women and small children have a tendency to tell lies' 'Women who say no, do not always mean no. It is not just a question of what she says, but how she shows and makes it clear. If she doesn't want it, she only has to keep her legs shut'. A judge commented on unlawful sexual intercourse with a seven-year-old girl. He described it as 'the kind of accident which could have happened to anyone'.
Conviction RatesAs you have seen, a woman faces serious obstacles at every stage of the Criminal Justice System. Only a tiny minority of cases reach as far as the court. You would therefore assume that these are the strongest cases. Conviction rates however, show that the opposite is true. 2000 statistics show that only 6% of cases tried result in a conviction. This statistic has in fact dropped from 10%.
Other Sexual OffencesIntercourse with a girl under 13 - Section 5. Sexual Offences Act 1956 - Maximum sentence is life.
Intercourse with a girl under 16 - Section 6. Sexual Offences Act 1956 - If the girl is under 13, the defendant will be charged with both offences. If the girl is over 13, the courts may accept mistake as a defence, providing the mistake is reasonable.
IncestIt is an offence for a man to have intercourse with a woman whom he knows to be his granddaughter, daughter, sister or mother. (A woman can also be guilty of incest). It is an offence for a woman aged 16 or over to permit a man whom she knows to be her grandfather, father, brother or son to have sex with her by her consent. If the girl is under 13, the maximum penalty for the man is life. Attempted incest is 7 years. In other cases the max penalty is 7 years and 2 years for an attempt.