336 Rape and Sexual Assault
In some countries,
women have worked
with the police to
have specially trained
female police officers
to help victims of
rape and violence.
➤ Always take
someone with you to
STI medicines, 261
the HIV test, 288
➤ It is now possible
in some places to
get medicines to
lower the risk of HIV
infection after rape,
but this has to be
done within 72 hours.
If you go to the police
In most places rape is a crime. But it may take a long time
and be very difficult to prove you were raped.
The police will ask you what happened. If you know the
rapist, tell them who it is. If you do not, you will need to
describe what he looks like. You may have to go with the police
to try to find him. You may also be asked to get a medical
exam from a legal doctor who works with the police. This
is not an exam to help you get well, but to help prove
that you were raped.
If the rapist is arrested, you will have to identify him,
either in front of the police or in front of a judge in
court. If there is a trial, try to find a lawyer who has
worked with rape cases before. The lawyer will tell
you what to expect and help you prepare for the trial.
Always take someone with you.
Going to court for a rape is never easy. Describing
what happened may make you have the feelings of being raped
all over again. Not everyone will be understanding. Some may
try to blame you or say you are lying.
Pregnancy can be prevented if you act quickly and use
emergency family planning (see page 226). You must use it as
soon as possible, but no later than 5 days after the rape.
IMPORTANT In some countries, abortion is safe and legal if
a girl or woman has been raped. Ask a health worker or women’s
organization if this is true in your country.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
STIs are passed more easily with violent sex because the
skin in the vagina is often torn. If the man who raped you had
an STI, he may have passed it to you. Since you cannot know
if he was infected, you should be treated so you can avoid
getting an infection and passing it on to others.Take medicines
for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia, and watch for signs of
other STIs.Take the medicines whether or not you think you
You should also try to have an HIV test. In areas where
HIV infection is widespread, it may be best to take medicines
to prevent HIV transmission within 24 to 72 hours after the
attack. See a health worker experienced with ART to find out
what medicines are recommended in your area (see page
521).The medicines must be taken for 28 days.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012