Health Problems of Rape 337
Tears and cuts
Sometimes rape damages the genitals by causing tears and
cuts. These usually cause pain, but will go away in time. If there
is a lot of bleeding, you may need to see a health worker trained
to stitch tears. For small cuts and tears:
• Soak your genitals 3 times each day in warm water that
has been boiled and cooled. Putting chamomile leaves in
the boiling water can help soothe the tears and help with
healing. Or you can put gel from an aloe plant on the tears.
• Pour water over your genitals while passing urine so that it
will not burn. Drinking a lot of liquid makes the urine weaker
so it will burn less.
• Watch for signs of infection: heat, yellow liquid (pus) from
the torn area, a bad smell, and pain that gets worse.
• After violent sex it is also common for women
to have a bladder or kidney infection.
wounds and sores, 306
bladder and kidney
Sexual relations after rape
I don’t feel
You can have normal sexual relations again 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 you need to wait.
Sometimes a woman’s partner may reject her after she
has been raped. He may feel ashamed or act as though he
is angry with her. This can be very hard for a woman who is
already dealing with many difficult feelings.
Overcoming feelings about the rape
The rape may still bother you long after
your body has healed. Here are some
It is important for a woman
who has been raped to
What did I
talk to someone or to
do something to help
herself feel better after
the rape—every woman
If nobody else
knows, maybe I
can forget what
needs to find her own
way to heal. For some women,
this can mean performing a ritual.
For others it means trying to punish the
rapist, or working to prevent other women
from being raped. Whatever you do, be patient
with yourself and ask others to be patient, too.
It happened so
long ago... Why
can’t I just forget
How DARE he
have done that
➤ It may take a long
time before you feel
better, but talking
with someone you
trust, or who has also
survived rape, can
help you to heal. See
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012