A new campaign has been launched to warn young men in Northamptonshire about the consequences of rape.
It has been announced today that Northamptonshire Police and the Northamptonshire Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (NRICC) will work together to raise awareness of sexual crimes with the aim of highlighting the consequences of committing a serious sexual offence to men aged between 18 and 30.
The campaign, called ‘Rape Ruins Lives’, will encourage pubs, clubs and other organisations to get involved and display posters.
Detective Inspector Helen Knight, from the police’s protecting vulnerable people unit, said young men may not fully understand what constitutes rape, particularly where alcohol is involved.
She said: “A person can only consent to have sex if they agree by choice and they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Just because someone doesn’t say ‘no’ or physically try to resist, it doesn’t mean they are saying yes to sex.
“Many young men don’t seem to realise that if someone is excessively drunk - too drunk to know what they are doing - then they cannot consent to sex.
“If there’s any question over whether someone has drunk too much to give consent, assume they haven’t given it. If they haven’t consented and you still have sex with them, it’s rape - and this has serious consequences.
“As well as a lengthy prison sentence and being placed on the sex offender register, a conviction for rape or any other crime can place significant restrictions on career choices, severely affect job prospects and limit overseas travel. In other words, it’s life-changing.”
The NRICC is one of the organisations in the county that offers support to victims of sexual crime.
NRICC manager, Dawn Thomas, said: “Rape and sexual assault has a massive impact on the victim and it’s important they get help and support through this difficult time.
“While our campaign is primarily focused on female victims and male offenders, we know that rape can happen to both men and women, and the NRICC is there to help anyone who needs it.
“If someone wants to report it to the police we will support them, but it’s not the most important thing and if they don’t want to do that, there are other organisations, such as the NRICC, who can help people explore their options and provide the guidance, counselling and support they need.”
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds also welcomed the campaign.
He said: “This campaign clearly puts the victim first offering the help and support they require. Proper protection and support for victims of crime is fundamental to my vision of a reformed criminal justice system.
“Victims of crime must be able to rely on swift, sure justice which punishes offenders properly, and on intelligent justice which demands that offenders face up to the causes of their behaviour, protecting future victims from similar trauma.”