338 Rape and Sexual Assault
Rape affects everyone in a community. Women who have been
raped can suffer long-lasting problems because of the rape. But
almost all women, whether they have been raped or not, learn to
be afraid. They learn not to trust men, and they learn not to do
things that attract attention. Women learn not to walk alone, or
not to talk to men they do not know.
To create a world in which rape does not happen, we need to
work toward having:
• communities where a person’s choices and behavior are not
limited by whether the person is a man or a woman.
• an equal chance for everyone to participate in the community.
• the chance for men and women to talk openly and honestly
with each other about what they each expect from a sexual
But until we achieve these goals, we need to find ways to help
women who have been raped. We can:
• educate elected leaders, clergy, and teachers about rape. Ask
for their help and make a plan for change.
• train doctors and health workers to treat women who have
been raped. They should be trained to provide STI testing,
emergency family planning, and how to listen and be kind to
the woman and her family.
• encourage health workers to find out what information their
country’s laws require in order to punish a rapist, so they can
help the woman fill out legal forms.
• teach women and girls how to defend themselves.
• teach boys and girls about sex and sexuality. Teach girls to
be clear about their wishes, and teach boys to ask girls about
their wishes and then respect them.
• learn about laws in your country that protect women who
have been raped, and teach them to others.
In a small town in El
Salvador, the police refused
to stop a known rapist
because he was the son
of a wealthy man. So the
women of the town began
painting the word ‘rapist’
outside his house. His family
was so ashamed that they
forced him to stop.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012