What to do if you were raped

  1. Get to a safe place as soon as possible.
  2. Tell the first person you see that you feel you can trust what has happened to you. This may be difficult for you but it is very important because this person can support your story and back you up in court. If the person is a stranger ask for and keep their name and telephone number and write it down.
  3. Do not wash yourself or throw away your clothes no matter how much you want to. There might be hair, blood or semen on your body or clothes that can be used as evidence of the rape if you choose to report the matter to the police.
  4. If you were drunk or stoned at the time of the rape don’t let that stop you from reporting the matter or getting medical treatment – being intoxicated is not a crime but rape is.
  5. If you are injured go straight to a hospital, community health centre or doctor.
  6. If you want to report the matter go to the police station nearest to where the rape took place. Do this as soon as you can or at least within three days so that there is a stronger chance of finding proof of the attack and of catching the suspected rapist. (If you don’t go within this time it is still possible to report the rape within 20 years.) It is often useful to call a friend or family member to go with you and support you to do this. Keep the name and contact number of the police officer in charge of your case and your police case number. You are also entitled to a copy of the statement you make to the police.
  7. If you fear retribution or intimidation from the rapist/s make sure the police are aware of this and ask that the rapist/s be not allowed out on bail.
  8. A doctor will examine every part of your body to find and collect samples hair, blood or semen. This is called the forensic examination and it is part of the police investigation to gather medical evidence of the crime.
  9. Ask for pamphlets or booklets on rape and the number of a local counselling service to give you further support and advice about the police matter, court case and any other effects of the rape on your life.
  10. Make sure you receive the following treatment from the doctor even if you do not wish to lay a charge:
    • The Morning After Pill (MAP) within 72 hours to prevent you falling pregnant if you are a woman.
    • An HIV test and antiretroviral treatment within 72 hours to prevent you getting HIV infection. You will have to go back for follow-up visits to the doctor, for further HIV tests and to take tablets every day for 28 days to do this effectively.
    • Antibiotics to prevent getting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) of another kind.

    You are entitled to this kind of medical attention even if you do not want to report the matter to the police and should do so as soon as possible or at least within three days. These treatments are not effective as prevention after 72 hours but other treatments can be available to you if you do fall pregnant or contract an STI.

  11. Remember you still have choices and can exercise your rights as a woman even though during the rape choice was taken away from you. You can take back your power to choose and there are people who can support you in doing that.

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