304 Chapter 14: Abuse, violence, and self-defense
To the health worker:
If you see someone who has been raped or
Treat her with kindness and understanding.
Encourage her to tell you what happened, listen
carefully, and let her know you believe her. Do
not blame her. She may find it difficult for you to
see or touch her. So before you touch her, explain
how you will examine her and wait until she is ready. Remember that her
feelings about the rape and violence may last for a long time, even years.
Treat her health problems. Give her medicines to prevent STIs and
pregnancy, and to lower her risk for getting HIV/AIDS. If she became
pregnant because of the rape, help her to decide what to do.
Write down who raped her and exactly what happened. If your clinic does
not keep records, make one and keep it somewhere safe. Draw a picture of
the front and back of her body and mark the places where she has been hurt.
Show or tell her what you have written and explain that it can be used to
support the fact she was raped if she reports the rape to the police or brings
legal charges against the rapist.
Treat her emotional and mental health needs. Ask her whether she has
someone to talk to. Help her to respect herself again and to gain control of
Help her to make her own decisions. If she wants to report the rape to
the police, help her find legal services. Help her find other services in the
community for women who have been raped.
Help her tell her partner or her family. If they do not know already, offer
to help her tell them. You can help them find ways to support her until
she recovers. Remember that family members usually also need help to
overcome their feelings about the rape.
If you are a health worker,
always ask permission before
you examine a girl or woman
with a disability who has been
raped or abused. This will help
her feel she has control over
who touches her.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007