A BBC documentary will ask the public to vote on whether a girl was raped

‘Is this Rape? Sex on Trial’ will show pretend consent scenarios

There’s going to be a new BBC documentary which will ask the audience to vote on whether a woman has been raped or not.

The BBC have insisted “Is this Rape? Sex on Trial” is not just a gimmick and is going to raise important questions on consent, but have been criticised for including a public vote.

On the show, which airs next Monday at 9pm, we’ll be shown a pretend rape scenario between a teenage boy and girl.

After the clip, a vote will be cast on whether consent was given or not in the situation.

While some have praised the documentary for “shining a light” on confusion over what consent means, others have warned it could be extremely distressing for rape victims.


‘Is this Rape? Sex on Trial’ will be on BBC3 next Monday

Katie Russell, spokesperson from Rape Crisis, criticised the public vote element.

She told The Express: “If this is not responsibly handled, particularly with the public vote element, it has the potential to upset rape survivors and make them less likely to seek support.”

As well as the public vote, a panel of 24 teenage boys and girls will be asked to discuss what the footage showed, and make a decision as to whether or not the woman gave her consent.

One teenage girl said: “If she didn’t show she was up for it but at the same time she didn’t do anything to stop it I think that it could be taken as consent.”

A teenage boy added: “She did make some signs that could be interpreted as consent.”

When asked if rape was too strong a term to use to describe the footage, one young man answered: “Yeah, I do, it’s quite harsh. But it’s close to rape.”

Another teenage girl revealed in the program that she had been raped, and called it “one of the most painful things someone can go through”.

She said: “The years and years of emotional turmoil, you don’t trust yourself and you don’t trust people around you.

“You flinch every time someone comes near you. It’s all of those different things.

“You need to listen and understand that it’s not fair what a rapist will do to anybody.”

The show's panel, who will vote on whether there was consent

The show’s panel, who will vote on whether there was consent

After a decision has been made by the audience and teenage panel, a barrister will explain the legal position on the scenario.

A BBC spokesperson added: “Sexual assault is a very real issue for young people and while we treat the subject with sensitivity we will not gloss over the issues it raises.”