Rape is a form of sexual assault and a very terrible act. It may happen anyway, no matter the number of prevention steps you take. Rape is when a person(s) has sex with an unwilling person. Sex should always be consensual, that is, it must happen between willing parties. Any sex with a person who struggles to escape you or begs you to stop is Rape, and these examples are not conclusive.
Most rape victims are women, therefore I’d like to focus this article where the shoe pinches most. In most developed countries, there are sexual assault centers you can easily locate and run to for help but as this is not so in Nigeria, I hope to at least guide you through 3 steps that can help you avoid some physical scars so you can move on and be a survivor.
Personally, I’m yet to hear of a rapist who used a condom. Because of this, even though there are many emotional and psychological scars, the physical scars are the ones I want to urgently address. So continue reading my 3 steps to take after rape.
STEP 1: PREVENT PREGNANCY:
The last thing you want to happen is to get pregnant for your rapist. I know you want to hide yourself and cry, but this is not a time to delay. Within 12 hours, make sure you buy an emergency contraceptive. This is a medicine that helps you prevent pregnancy after sex. In Nigeria, just look out for brands like Postpill in any pharmacy near you. Many people don’t know that it’s not immediately you have sex, that you could get pregnant and even the fastest sperm will have to wait for your egg to be available. Therefore using an emergency contraceptive will save you from having a baby that looks like ‘his daddy’.
STEP 2: PREVENT HIV:
This is especially important if you were raped by more than one person. Many STDs do not show symptoms and HIV especially is quite the silent killer, so another brave action you need to do is to visit a General Hospital and ask for their ARV Unit. Tell them you want PEP medicine. PEP means Post Exposure Prophylaxis and it is a medicine taken to prevent HIV after a high risk exposure. Many health workers in HIV units are very familiar with PEP, and know when to seek it, but how many rape victims have ever heard of it? This medicine is given for FREE and available at almost every general hospital, all you have to do is ASK.
STEP 3: TREAT STDS
About two weeks after your horrible experience, you should get tested. The easiest way to do this is a High Vaginal Swab. This is a microbial check of your vaginal discharge. You can take the result of this test to any pharmacy and get some medicine if needed. In addition, you can also do STI laboratory tests and this will help put such concerns at rest.
THE SAD TRUTH
This article is not perfect and does not address the need for rape victims to seek justice, either in court or in kind. My advice for treating the emotional scars of rape: first thing you need to do is talk to someone, someone who loves you and can share their strength with you. Always test them by asking them hypothetically what they think about rape and the women who are affected. This will give you an idea what their stand is before you open up to them. If you can afford it, please seek professional counselors. Only YOU can decide whether to report your rape experience to the police and I understand some Nigerian police are trained to handle such cases. No matter what you decide to do legally or emotionally, first things first, you should try to erase the physical scars so you can start on your journey to healing after rape.
If you’re a victim of Rape and also live in Lagos state, you can also contact: Stand to End Rape Initiative @ No 1a Kola Adeyina Close off Jerry Iriabe Street, behind Tantalizers on Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1. – 08095967000 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you been raped before? Did you do anything about it? Have you helped a rape victim before? What else can be done? Drop a comment below or send an email to email@example.com.