Pat's Answer

Is it rape if

Your Question

is it still rape if he was gentle?


Hello, welcome to Ask Pat, thank you so much for getting in touch.

You have a question about whether a sexual act is still considered rape even if the person was gentle.

We appreciate you reaching out as we know it is not always easy to do. It is understandable that you may have questions around this topic as it can be confusing when you or someone you know finds themselves in a situation that may be rape.

Sexual activity without consent, is rape. You have a right to know that in Ireland, the legal age to give consent is 17. This means that when you are under 17, you cannot give consent. If a young person is over 17, they still have the right to choose when and to who, they give their consent. This still stands even if the person is gentle.

No one ever has the right to touch you or engage in sexual activity with you when you are not comfortable with it. You have the right to talk to an adult you trust about this. The adult might be your parent/guardian at home, or a teacher, friend’s parent, relative, guidance counsellor or your GP. The adults in your life have a responsibility to support you and listen to you. You never have to be alone, in difficult or frightening times.

If you have been in a situation where you were raped, you have the right to report this to the Gardaí and/or visit your nearest Rape Crisis Clinic/Sexual Assault Treatment Unit . It is important that you do this as soon as you can, even if you feel embarrassed or afraid, which we understand is very normal. You may also need to get medical support, particularly if you had unprotected sex. Our Childline website has an article on consent which may be helpful to you .

In the meantime, you are more than welcome to contact us at Childline and talk through your questions and feelings. You can free-phone us at 1800 66 66 66, text us at 50101 or chat with us online through Our services are free and confidential. We will not judge you on your thoughts, feelings or actions and we will help you explore what options are available to. Childline is open 24 hours a day, every day. There will always be somebody here to chat with you, whichever service you choose to use. You are so brave to reach out to us today.

Mind yourself and we hope to hear from you soon,


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