Sexual assault and rape 305
Sexual Relations After Rape
You can have normal sexual relations after rape. You will need to wait until your
genitals no longer hurt and any tears have healed. For many women, having sex
makes them think about the rape. If this happens to you, talk with your partner about
why sex no longer feels the same, why it frightens you, and why you need to wait.
Ask your partner to help you overcome your fear by gentle hugging and caressing that
avoids touching your genitals. As you feel safer, you may be able to start having sexual
intercourse again. But this takes time, and you will both need to be patient.
A woman’s partner can make a big difference in helping a woman who has been
raped, by being kind and understanding. But sometimes a woman’s partner may
reject her after she has been raped. He may be ashamed and angry, especially if he
believes that her rape dishonors him or if the community holds that belief. It may
help to find someone in the community he can talk with about his feelings.
How You Feel After the Rape
The rape may still bother you long after your body has healed. Here are some
What did I do
It happened so long
Why can’t I just
forget about it?
If nobody else knows,
maybe I can forget
How DARE he
have done that
Maybe I was too
It is important for a woman who has been raped to talk to someone, or to do
things that will help her feel better after the rape. Every woman finds her own
way to heal. Some women perform a ritual. Others try to punish the rapist, or
work to prevent other women from being raped. Whatever you do, be patient
with yourself and ask others to be patient, too. For more information, see
Chapter 3, Mental health.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007