02 Feb Perpetrators cannot get their heads around the word ‘rapist’
Pictured: Detective Superintendent Jason Tingley, Sussex Police
Having worked on many rape cases I can tell you rapists don’t look like the balaclava-wearing predators you see in films. They look like ordinary people.
Some are predators who actively go out looking for someone vulnerable to rape.
Some are opportunists who don’t plan it, but do exploit someone vulnerable if they get the chance.
And some rapists are those who still do not understand what consent is.
I’ve been involved in many cases where perpetrators just cannot get their heads around the word ‘rapist’ being applied to them. The fact is, whether they understand consent or not, sex without consent is rape. That means they are a rapist.
No matter how surprised people might be about it, if they commit rape, I will, as a police officer, do everything I can to support victims and prosecute the perpetrators.
To anyone who doesn’t want to commit rape or be stigmatised as a rapist through ignorance or self-delusion, I’d say: Remember that consent is about saying ‘yes’ to sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have verbal agreement every time you have sex for consent to be given.
But saying ‘no’ is not the only way of denying consent. If someone is unwilling, uncertain or unable to give their consent, even if they don’t say the word ‘no’, it is still rape.
Don’t assume that because someone doesn’t fight or resist during sex means they are consenting to it; not fighting can be a way someone tries to protect themselves from being harmed even more.
It’s not up to anyone to avoid being raped. It’s up to everyone who initiates sex to make sure they have consent.
Finally, know that rape infers a rapist, so don’t be surprised. Make sure you are absolutely clear about consent and take it seriously.
Because if you don’t, Sussex Police will.
Jason Tingley, Detective Superintendent, Sussex Police