If you offered someone dessert at the end of a meal but they were too full to eat it, you wouldn’t force them to have it. If you offered them a lift home and they declined, you wouldn’t make them get into the car. If you offered someone anything and they said no, you wouldn’t then proceed to force it upon them. Sex is no different; no means no – full stop.
Saying no means someone hasn’t given their consent and it’s time to stop. If someone has had too much to drink to consent to any kind of sexual activity, or to give their full consent, that means no, don’t go any further.
Today (Friday 8 December), South Yorkshire Police has launched the #FullStop campaign, aiming to raise awareness of the life-changing consequences committing a sexual offence can have, not only for the perpetrator, but for the victim too.
Sexual offences can take many forms, from grabbing someone’s bum in a bar to rape. It is never ok for someone to sexually assault another person and through the #FullStop campaign we want to make people think about their actions, particularly over the festive period and encourage any victims to speak to us.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Jackson, said: “Over the festive period and into the new year we tend to see an increase in the number of sexual offences being reported to us, with many people attending Christmas parties.
“We want people to enjoy themselves, but to remember that choices they make while enjoying the festivities could have an impact on the rest of their life – if you’ve been talking to someone in a bar or shared a taxi with them, don’t read too much into it, it doesn’t mean they want to go any further. If they say no at any point or can’t give their full consent, that means no.
“Make sure you know the meaning of consent and have got true consent before even considering going any further.
“Committing a sexual offence can ruin not one, but two lives, don’t let that be you and your life. No means no. Full stop.”
The #FullStop campaign also aims to encourage victims of any sexual offence to come forward. There are a range of support mechanisms on offer and any report made to South Yorkshire Police will be taken extremely seriously.
DCI Jackson added: “We are here to listen to anyone who wants to report any kind of sexual offence to us.
“Reports will always be taken extremely seriously and you will be believed by investigators with the highest levels of integrity. Along with support from our specially trained staff, there are a range of other support networks available, including the South Yorkshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre, where victims can self-refer.
“To find out more about the campaign and support services available, please visit southyorks.police.uk/fullstop”
In developing the campaign, the force has worked with the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), which is funded by Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, NHS England and the South Yorkshire Sexual Violence Partnership.
Keeley Roe, manager at the SARC, said: “We fully support the Full Stop campaign with its unambiguous stance towards perpetrators of sexual offences and its concern for victims. I urge anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence to report it to the police, or you can report it directly to ourselves.
“You can contact the SARC to self-refer and report a sexual offence, and you will be treated with dignity and respect. One thing to remember is that we can keep your case and preserve any samples taken until you decide you are ready to proceed any further with the justice system. We’re here to support you and to listen to you – please get in touch if you need help.”
For more information about the SARC and to contact the centre, please visit hackenthorpelodge.org
The South Yorkshire Sexual Violence Partnership can be reached through southyorksisva.org.uk