Rape is one of the most devastating things to happen to anyone, especially women. In Nigeria, the social climate makes it very difficult for women to open up about rape or seek help because of the culture of victim-blaming and shame. Onoriose Joy of Mirabel Centre shares steps to take if you have just been raped.

1 – Go to a Safe Place

It is very important that you get away from the perpetrator, whether to your home, a friend’s home; just make sure you are no longer in danger.

2 – Report the Crime

We empower perpetrators to repeat the crime when we don’t report it.

3 – Call and Tell Someone you can Trust

A friend, a relative or a significant other; support is very important.

4 – Preserve All Evidence of the Assault

Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination. This may be a bit difficult as all you want to do is wash and scrub yourself clean, but it is necessary.

5 – Contact the Mirabel Centre

Rape and sexual assault victims can access free forensic medical and counselling services. You can also access the services of the centre without making a report to the police and we can assist if and when you want to contact the police.

6 – Get Medical Care as Soon as Possible

Go to a hospital emergency department or a specialised forensic clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. It is imperative to see a doctor to ensure unwanted pregnancy, STDs and HIV are prevented.

7 – Take Notes

Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant. This would help if you decide to talk to the police.

8 – Remember, it was NOT Your Fault

A rapist is the only person responsible for his decision to rape and hurt you in that manner.

9 – Talk to a Trained Counsellor

Counselling can help you to learn how to cope with the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. This is vital for victims as well as their relatives or significant others.

10 – You Can Take Back Your Power

Yes you can. Report the crime. Speak out. Don’t hide.

  • Article culled from the February 2016 edition of Genevieve Magazine.

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