Legal Assistance Centre



Cover of pamphlet what to do if you are raped

1. Do not wash your body or change your clothes.
This would destroy signs of the rape which can be used to make sure that the rapist is found guilty in court. Do not tidy up the place where the rape happened. Do not wash anything which might have evidence such as blood or semen on it. Wrap items in newspaper for safekeeping - do not put anything inside plastic packets as plastic can damage the evidence.

2. Go to a doctor, clinic or hospital.
You must get medical help right away. You might want to go to a doctor, clinic or hospital even before you go to the police, especially if you have been hurt. You must be sure to explain that you have been raped. If you go to the police first, they will take you to the hospital or clinic.

  • Get PEP immediately. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a medicine which can greatly reduce the chances of being infected with HIV as a result of a rape. It works only if it is taken immediately after the rape and continued regularly for 1 month. The course of medicine MUST begin with 48 hours of the rape, or it will not work.

  • Ask the doctor about medicine to prevent infection with other sexually-transmitted diseases such as syphilis or hepatitis. It is also best to start taking this medicine as soon as possible.

  • If you could be in danger of falling pregnant from the rape, ask your doctor for pills that can prevent a pregnancy. These pills will work only if they are taken right after the rape.

  • Get information about follow-up testing. It is important to be tested at the right times for HIV, and for other diseases that could result from the rape and for pregnancy. You can also get counselling which will help you to feel less afraid about having these tests.

3. Lay a charge with the police.
You should report the rape to the police so that the person who raped you can be caught. This might prevent the rapist from raping someone else. Contact a Woman and Child Protection Unit if possible, as the police in these units have specialized training on dealing with rape cases. The police can help you get to a hospital or a clinic. They can collect evidence which will be helpful in the court case. You should bring a change of clothes with you to the police station so that they can keep the clothes you were wearing during the rape as evidence. If you are afraid that the person who raped you may come back and hurt you, be sure to tell the police. If you have a good reason for being afraid, then the person who raped you will not be set free on bail.

Read the pamphlet What to do if you are raped for more information

Also available in Oshiwambo, Otjiherero and Afrikaans.