Rape is such a horrible act, whether it is done on a woman or a man. Instances of sodomy (raping of males) is on the increase and just like raped women, men also feel the shame of being defiled, and in the most painful and humiliating way. Nevertheless, it is the rape of girls and women that continues to dominate.
A consequence of rape is physical injuries and emotional turmoil. Rape causes tears and wounds on the genitalia. After the brutal act, the victim is so overcome with feelings of disgust and shame, and often the first instinct is to bathe and brush oneself vigorously in an attempt to clean off the smell, touch and fluids left by the rapist.
Another instinct is not to tell anyone, but to keep the shame to oneself till death. While these reactions are human, it is not the way to go.
1. The first thing you need to do after the rape is to go to a safe place. For many people, this means home, or a hospital, or the police station if they are deemed friendly.
2. Do not bathe. As much as this is the most instinctive thing to do. Do not eat, drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth. Your genitalia, hands, feet, face, teeth (in case you bit the rapist or vice versa) all contain evidence that can be used to prosecute the rapist.
3. If the rape took place at home, in a car, a hotel lodging or anywhere else where the evidence can be preserved, don’t clean it or rearrange the scene.
4. Call a friend, family member or a relative you trust. You need a shoulder to cry on. Bearing the emotional turmoil and physical injuries of rape is not easy, and having a friendly, supportive pillar to lean on helps to shoulder the burden.
5. Call the police or go to them. You need to do this to report the crime. Most police stations have an officer trained specifically on how to handle rape victims. Ask to talk to this officer. He or she should take you to a private room to take your statement. Include, as much as possible, all the details and description of the rapist.
6. After this, go to hospital. Do not detour. It is important that you seek treatment immediately as this will protect you against getting pregnant or being infected with HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection. The first 36-72 hours after the rape are critical.
7. When you do remove your clothes after the police and doctors have collected their evidence, don’t throw them away as they still contain the evidence. Instead, pack them all in paper bags, not plastic bags, and hand them over to the police, or you can keep them safely in that state until the case commences should the rapist(s) be arrested.
8. After the medical treatment, seek professional counselling. This is important if you want to get over the brutal act and reaffirm yourself as a survivor, not a victim. Counselling helps you cross over this bridge and come to appreciate that you are not at all at fault but it is the other person, who is a criminal. The counselling will also help you know how to deal with family, relatives and friends who know of the incident and now treat you differently.