Campaign aims to tackle rise in date rapes

Posters for the campaign send out the clear message that sex without consent is rape.
Posters for the campaign send out the clear message that sex without consent is rape.

Dozens of people have reported being raped on a first or second date, according to new figures released by Police Scotland.

Launching its latest #GetConsent campaign, Police Scotland is warning that sex without consent is rape.

More than 160 people reported being raped in the very early stages of dating, in 2018/19.

It means that more than one in 10 rapes committed by someone other than a partner or ex-partner occurred on the first or second date.

This figure includes people who met online, through dating apps or on social media.

Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald, Major Crime and Public Protection, Police Scotland, said: “More than 160 people reported being raped on a first or second date last year – a shocking statistic – and even more so when you consider that this number is likely to be significantly under reported.

“No one should go on a date expecting or feeling entitled to sex, just as no one goes on a date expecting to be raped.

“Nor should anyone feel bullied, coerced or shamed into having sex because their date expects it or believes they’re entitled to it because they paid for drinks or dinner.

“Our new campaign seeks to tackle these issues head on and make it clear that sex without consent is rape.”

The campaign is aimed primarily at 18-35 year-old men, peak age for offending, and it builds on reinforcing Police Scotland’s focus on consent and changing behaviour and attitudes towards sexual crime.

ACC MacDonald continued: “Sexual crime is a form of violence and although reporting is increasing we know that these types of crime remain under reported.

“Our ultimate aim, however, is preventing rape and sexual crime from occurring in the first place and getting the message across to those at risk of offending – no one is ‘entitled’ to sex whatever the circumstances. Sex without consent is rape, so make sure you get consent.”

Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland, added: “No-one is entitled to sex. It’s not something that anyone can earn through their efforts at flirting, or whole evenings spent messaging or chatting someone up.

“Sex without consent is rape, and that consent must always be free and willing, not something assumed or given through pressure or coercion.

“This campaign is a welcome contribution to the national conversation we need to be having about sex and consent.

“What needs to be clear – and it cannot be said enough – is that it doesn’t matter what the situation is, all sexual violence, abuse and harassment is unacceptable.”

Find out more at the website #WeCanStopIt