Helpline: 1800 234 900

What will happen if I call Mayo RCC?

When you call Mayo rape crisis centre, you will speak directly to our helpline staff. You can speak for as long as you need to and you can end the call when you are ready.

Do I have to tell the whole story?

You can  decide what you tell us and what you don't. It's up to you. Our staff are there to listen and support you. What you reveal is totally up to you. You are the expert on your life. If you think you'll freak out or get stuck for words, maybe write down what you want to say before you pick up the phone. Sometimes just saying…"I need some help" is enough.

Can I trust them?

Your call can be anonymous and in most cases it will be confidential. That means you don't have to give your name if you don't want to and no one will find out what you have talked about. The only time someone might find out is if you or someone else is currently in danger of being assaulted or harmed. If this is the case you might need help to stay safe, we will tell you first before we tell anyone else.... we want you to feel fully in control of the situation.

What happens next?

If you feel ready you can come in and talk with a counselor.It can be especially helpful to talk with a counselor who understands that rape is never the victim's fault. We have experience in helping victims of sexual violence and can help you find ways to cope with the physical and emotional effects of the assault. Even if the assault or abuse happened a long time ago, it is never too late to get help.

I'm worried about someone I know ... what should I do?

The good news is that your friend really trusts you, and there are lots of things you can do to support her/him. Keep in mind that hearing about their experience might be really hard for you and you don't have to be their counsellor. Possibly the best thing you can do is get help. If they're talking to you, here's some things that might help:  

  • Let your friend know right away that you care and want to help. 

  • Be a good listener. Let your friend decide what and when s/he feels comfortable telling you about the assault and its impact. Don't press for details or ask a lot of questions. 

  • Believe your friend. It takes courage to talk about a sexual assault with other people. Many people remain silent because they feel ashamed and/or they fear that they will be disbelieved or blamed if they tell other people about what happened to them. 

  • Don’t blame them.In our society, it's pretty common for victims to be blamed for the assault. Try to avoid questions like 'why did you go there' and 'why did you go out with him/her' because they might make your friend think they are responsible for what happened. Instead, it could be good to remind them they are not responsible for what happened. For example, "You are not to blame for this".  

  • Encourage your friend to make her or his own decisions and choices. This is one way for a sexual assault victim to regain a sense of personal power and control. For example, let your friend decide if she or he wants to notify the police or contact a rape crisis center. But, do what you can to assist your friend in getting information about these and other options so she or he can make informed decisions. 

  • Encourage your friend to "reach out" to people and places that know how to help sexual assault victims. 

  • Encourage your friend to get medical care, even if the assault happened a while ago and even if your friend does not appear to have any physical injuries.

  • Encourage your friend to phone a rape crisis centre. If your friend is not ready to talk to a counsellor "in person," encourage your friend to call the hotline and talk with them on the telephone.

  • If your friend is willing to report the crime, encourage her or him to contact the Gardaí as soon as possible. They can help victims get medical care and resolve concerns about their safety.

  • Remember that your friend has been through an emotionally painful, traumatic experience. Your friend may act differently after the assault. Some of your friend's reactions may be hard to watch, but your "being there" for your friend can help a lot. 

  • Be patient and understanding. The trauma of a sexual assault does not go away quickly. It may take a while for your friend to recover. Sometimes friends and family members expect sexual assault victims to be "over it" in a few weeks. Understand that the pain the victim feels, and the symptoms, may last for a long time.

  • Respect your friend's privacy and confidentiality. Don't disclose what the victim tells you to other people. Let your friend decide whom she or he wants to confide in.

 

Take care of yourself, too. If someone you know is raped, you may feel upset. Even if your friend doesn't want to talk to a counselor, you can get support for yourself. Talking to a counselor can help you understand your own reactions and what you and your friend are going through. A counselor can also give you ideas about how to help your friend.

What is Rape and sexual assault?

Sexual Assault: Is a general term that includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation. Sexual assault includes any forced or unwanted touching of an intimate part of the body, such as breasts, buttocks, or genitals. 

Rape: a specific type of sexual assault, involves any forced, manipulated, or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth, by a penis or other object.

Was I raped?

Were the participants old enough to consent?

In Ireland, the age of consent is 17 years of age. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no.

Did both people have the capacity to consent?

Someone cannot consent to sex if they are: 

  • Under the age of 17 
  • Under use or threat of physical violence or death 
  • Unconscious, unaware, or mentally incapacitated 
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Did both participants agree to take part?

Did someone use physical force to make you have sexual contact with him/her? Has someone threatened you to make you have intercourse with them? If so, it is rape.

The absence of a “no” is not the presence of a “yes.”

If you proceed despite your partner’s expressed instruction to stop, you have not only violated basic codes of morality and decency, you may have also committed a crime under the laws.

I was drunk or on drugs-does that mean it wasn’t rape? 

Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse—or an alibi. The key question is still whether or not you consented. Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is non-consensual, it is rape. 

 

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Mayo Rape Crisis Centre