Thursday, 20 March 2014

Rape: Understanding some elements

Rape is a tragic and traumatic incident. But collecting evidence at a primary level can be done by the person who has been raped or the person's close confidantes. As unfortunate as it is, with increasing cases of rape one never knows when this information might come in handy. The points below are from a book titled 'Feminology: Woman Abuse'. Author: Bassam Imam. 

Some of the points have been simplified for ease of reading. Some have been taken out as they are not according to the Indian Penal Code. Of course it's not possible to remember them all. But browsing through them will only prove to be helpful. Here you go!

1. Your personal safety and security is number one! If you were raped by a stranger in unfamiliar surroundings and left after the rape, the rapists may return for some more

2. You need immediate medical care regardless of how you feel. You may have serious medical injuries that need to be treated immediately

3. You’re understandably fearful about having a physical examination. But it is important. However, do not let anyone to exploit you further under the pretext of examination

4. Call the police or someone (family or friends, etc) who can adequately protect you from further harm 

5. During the examination you have the right to say stop at any time

6. DO NOT forget to inform the physician and nurse if you’re on medication or if you’re addicted to alcohol or other drugs; even tobacco. Furthermore, if you have alcohol or drugs in your system at the time of the examination it’s imperative that you inform hospital staff

7. If you have any suspicions about having been drugged ask the physician to check for traces of rape drugs or similar derivatives

8. If you have any food or drug allergies immediately inform the medical staff. 

9. The examiner's report can be used as evidence on your behalf. Be sure to see or get someone you trust to see what is written.

10. Make sure the physicians checks for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and gives you emergency contraception to avoid pregnancy 

11. Vaccination for Hepatitis B might be given. You may be prescribed medication for gonorrhoea, syphilis and Chlamydia

12. You really want to take a shower, throw or wash all of the affected clothing, go home and cry like a baby but don't even comb or clean your hair. DNA and other valuable evidence can be obtained from your body and clothing

13. It’s imperative that a blood test be taken

14. Ask about follow-up treatment and medications

15. Inform your family physician (if you have one) of what has happened. Ask the medical staff to send an official copy of the exam results to your physician

16. Ask if the hospital has a rape kit to simplify and quicken the process

Remember, anyone can be raped and the rapist need not be a stranger. 

Written by Neilima

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