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Is it wise to settle a rape case out of court?

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rape victim

Dear Harold,

I am concerned with the increasing cases of rape and defilement being reported in the mainstream media that end up with the suspects being released over alleged insufficient evidence. What should a rape victim do to preserve the evidence? Is it wise to settle cases of rape out of court, especially when the survivor is not ready to undergo the traumatising process of a trial in open court?

Rachel, Nairobi.

Dear Rachel,

Victims should never shower after a defilement or a rape ordeal as a doctor should examine and write a conclusive medical report on vaginal bruises, tears and presence of semen to form part of the prosecution evidence. It is important to report the incident to the police at least within 24 hours and write a statement, which the police will include in their Occurrence Book (OB). The police issue victims with a P3 form for medical doctors to fill after examination. The doctor should also fill a Post Rape Care Form 1 (PRC1), which basically provides details to be used in court as evidence. Emergency contraceptive pills can also be given, especially if the incident is reported within 72 hours.

Rape/defilement is a crime that torments survivors - courts often give complainants a choice of the case to be heard in private. However, survivors should try and remain calm in court as they may be asked embarrassing questions during the trial. It is important not to accept money from the attackers in a bid to induce you to settle the matter out of court as the accused rapist may repeat the crime. For your information, attempted rape is also a crime that should not go unpunished – report it to the police station.

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