Every year, Nov 25th – Dec 10th, mark 16 days of activism. The theme this year which has been running for the last three years is From Peace in the home to Peace in the World; Let’s challenge militarism and end violence against women. As a rape survivor, these 16 days of activism are a great boost in the fight to stop all forms of violence. I marked 10 years as a rape survivor in June 15th this year and would like to dedicate my post during this #16daysofActivism to giving tips on what to do immediately you or someone close to you has been sexually assaulted; this information will come in handy and will be the line that prevents a life time of mental turmoil.
Immediately a sexual abuse is reported to you by a lover, relative, friend
a) Rush the survivor to hospital within 72 hours of the abuse
b) Report the matter to the police as soon as possible
c) DO NOT clean any part of the survivor’s body
d) DO NOT wash or destroy the survivor’s clothes
e) WRAP the clothes in a khaki envelop and NOT plastic or polythene paper bag which sweat or newspaper whose chemical will interfere with protozoa
f) DO NOT tamper with anything at the crime scene
The first 72 hours are critical, this is the space of time within which the survivor should be taken to hospital and the crime reported to the police. The 72 hour period is very critical so as to
a) prevent pregnancies
b) prevent infection of HIV/AIDS or STDs
c) avoid death of the victim
d) ensure that evidence (such as the victim’s clothing) is preserved correctly
e) avoid the crime scene being tampered with
f) ensure the victim gets psychological support
Once at the Hospital, you should expect
a) The survivor will be examined
b) Samples of the survivors blood, urine, vaginal or anal fluids will be taken for laboratory tests
c) The survivor will be given ARV to prevent HIV infection.
d) The survivor will be counseled by the health care providers at the hospital
e) The survivor will also be given emergency contraceptives pills to prevent pregnancy
f) The health care providers will fill 3 copies of the Post Rape Care form; White copy – given to police, Green copy – remains at the hospital, Yellow copy – given to survivor
g) Give the P3 form to the health care provider for filling and signing if you have been to the police
At the police station, you should expect
a) Crime is reported in the occurrence book (OB) by a police officer
b) Survivor gets OB number
c) The police will ask survivor questions about the abuse
d) The survivor should give the police sufficient information to enable them to carry out investigation
I hope this helps. If you would like to know more about getting help you can contact me on my twitter account @sitawawafula.
Sitawa Wafula is a poet and Kenya’s Mental Health Ambassador living with bipolar syndrome and epilepsy. she raises awareness of different mental illnesses and teaches us how to cope with them. She recently won the East Africa Philanthropy Awards in youth philanthropy.