The Department of Health takes responsibility for everybody who needs medical help after rape, you do not have to report a rape to the police before you can receive medical treatment at a state health institution.
Women who have been raped are usually worried that they may fall pregnant, or contract a sexually transmitted disease, like HIV.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after rape, because you need to start taking anti-HIV medication within 72 hours (3 days) of a rape for it to be effective. You can also be given a morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy.
- If you would like to press charges against a rapist, then you should report the rape to the police, who will open a case for you, and take you to a doctor for examination
- If you need medical assistance but you are not sure whether you want to press charges or not, you may request a medico-legal examination at the same time as you receive treatment.
What is a Medico-legal Examination?
A physical examination used as legal evidence in your case.
An official form, called a J88, gives details of
- Any physical injuries from the rape
- Forensic samples such as semen for DNA testing.
For this reason, it is better not to bath or change your clothes, but to go immediately for an examination, because a J88 examination is important evidence in a court case.
What is Medical Treatment for rape?
A doctor or a qualified forensic nurse will examine you and treat any injuries that you may have on your body.
You will be given
- An HIV test – A doctor needs to know your HIV status so that you can be given the correct treatment.
- If you don’t already have HIV, you must start taking anti-HIV medicine as soon as possible to avoid HIV-infection. Information on taking anti-HIV medicines is here
- If you do have HIV, you will be counselled about your treatment options
- A pregnancy test if you are a sexually mature woman.
- If you are not pregnant, you will be given pills to prevent you from falling pregnant from the rape
- The doctor needs to know whether you are already pregnant or not, so that you are not given any pills that will harm your baby
- Antibiotics to prevent other kinds of sexually transmitted diseases besides HIV.
A doctor will also speak to you about psychological counselling, and should be able to refer you to someone who will help you to deal with the psychological effects of rape