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What to do in case of rape - From Project Alert

Published by Linda Ikeji on Wed, 01 May 2013

Recently, Project Alert, a non-governmental women's rights organization, has been getting calls from people all over Nigeria reporting rape and asking them what to do. The organization decided to write an article that can guide people on what they can do in case of rape. See the article below...'My friend just got raped by her tutorialcoach, what do we do'''I was raped by my neighbour, I told mymother but she refused to believe me. What do I do'''My daughter was raped so I shaved her hairand beat her up so that it won't repeat itself and no rapist will be attractedto her'These reports are just less than 1% of thecases we have to deal with everyday on issues concerning rape. From ourexperience we have realized that many people are still ignorant about what to doin a rape situation. People say there is a rape epidemic in Nigeria but thereality is that rape has always lived with us since time immemorial; we areonly witnessing an increase in the reporting of rape cases.Most families liketo keep it covered up and let abusers go free which has resulted to more rapeby the same abuser. How can you explain a case of a Father who raped all hisdaughters and went on to rape his 15month old granddaughter' If such a man wasapprehended when he committed the first act, his other daughters, granddaughterand other undisclosed girls would not have fallen victim. When it happens in our neighbourhoods theresponse people give are usually 'if na me eh, person go die this night, if name eh, I go cut his thing, if na my sister eh, the thing wey I go do, I neverknow am.' Before you think we made this up, this was the exact response we gotwhen a 10 year old was raped in her neighbourhood. All hands are on deck to endthis menace, more victims are summoning courage to speak up but it is notenough. If every Nigerian knows what to do in case of rape, we would have lessrape incidence, less unwanted pregnancies and a decrease in the number ofpeople with HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). It's normal to see people reading this whowould say, 'Tufiakwa! God Forbid! It is not my portion! Back to Sender!' no oneever wishes for rape but in case it happens around you this is what you shoulddo:EmotionalSupport: Victims must realize and be reassuredthat the rape was not their fault. Give a listening ear to the victim and don'tblame them, punish them or accuse them of lying. PreserveThe Evidence: Do not shower, wash the clothes and underwear, brushyour teeth, drink anything, eat, wash your hands, douche or urinate until afteryou have had a medical examination. Doing any of the above will destroyevidence (things that your attacker may have left behind, such as fibers,hairs, saliva or semen). Save all of the clothing you were wearing at thetime of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separatepaperbag.Do not use plastic bags because the heat in them may destroy your evidence likesemen. Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. This will be hard because victims want to shower and feelrefreshed but it will help you get justice.GetMedical Examination: this is very important and must be done in a Governmenthospital. Only government hospital reports are admissible in court. Victim must begiven access to Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection andthis should be taken within 48 hours and is available at every governmenthospital. Morning after Emergency Contraceptive can be prescribed to greatly decreasethe chance of pregnancy. Take a change of clothes to the hospital because theywill need to keep the clothes and underwear worn during the assault forevidence. Reportto the Nearest Police Station: Reporting to the police is crucial in the questto get justice and keep the abuser behind bars. Every time we lock up a rapist,we're preventing him or her from committing another attack. It's the mosteffective tool that exists to prevent future rapes. Victims should go to thepolice in the company of a trusted family member or friend.Getprofessional counselling for the victim.Counselling is the first step to recovery and victims need that to heal andtransition successfully. Victims of rape are more likely to suffer depression,low self esteem, guilt, sleep disorders, insecurity etc.Overto you guys, share your comments, suggestions, advice or questions with usbelow.ProjectAlert is a non-governmental human rights organization established in 1999 toprotect and promote the rights of women and young girls in the society,especially their rights to live free from all forms of violence against them.Our areas of intervention are Researchand Documentation (R&D), HumanRights Education (HRE) and SupportServices Program (SSP) which includes legal aid, temporary shelter servicesfor abused women, counselling, and skills acquisition training. www.projectalertnig.org followus on twitter @Projectalertvaw and connect with us on Facebook: Project Alerton violence against women.
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