How should I decide whether to use the law

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The decision to use the law must be made carefully.

  • Can someone go with you to talk to the police?
  • Has the law helped other women in your community who have been raped?
  • Do you want the rape to remain private? Can the police keep others from learning about the rape?
  • Did the rapist threaten to hurt you more if you reported the rape?
  • If the rapist is caught and you can prove that he raped you, how will he be punished?

If you think you may want to report the rape to the police, do it as soon after the rape as possible. Do not wash before you go, and bring the clothes that you were wearing in a bag. These things can help you prove that you were raped. Take a friend with you, and ask to have a female health worker examine you, if possible.

If you do not want to go to the police, or if you cannot go until later, you should see a health worker anyway—even if you are not badly hurt. Tell the health worker that you have been raped. She should then check you for cuts or tears, and give you some medicines to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Ask her to write down everything that she finds because it will help prove to the police or to others in the community that you were raped.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en020315