Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Do Not Fear A Rape Examination

Your first response may be shock.  This is normal.  You may shiver and shake and want to lie down.  Force yourself to call the rape crisis line immediately.

Do not fear the rape examination.  Yes, some procedures will be uncomfortable and perhaps embarrassing.  Remember, the people who collect the evidence have done hundreds of these exams.  They are professional. It is their job.

Do not remove any evidence.  Do not shower or change your clothes. Do not clean your fingernails or brush your teeth or hair.  To convict a rapist, you must preserve the evidence.

Call the rape crisis hot line or go to the clinic or hospital immediately.  Do not postpone the examination longer than 72 hours.

You will be examined by professionals trained in evidence collecting to prevent contamination of evidence during the process.

Rape Advocate Provided During Examination

A rape advocate will be provided during the examination to answer your questions and give you emotional support.  Often the hospital or local woman's shelter will provide a trained advocate. Or, you may choose to have a friend or relative accompany you or you may choose to complete the examination alone. It is up to you. Just remember, you are in control of this process. At any time during the exam you may ask them to stop and let you rest.

Accept counseling from a rape crisis clinic.  Others who have experienced the same type of violence can offer support to your conflicting feelings.

A victim of any violent crime has experienced trauma.  Rape is a violent crime and people react to trauma in various degrees.  The shift from victim to survivor is critical to reestablishing a normal life.   The more emotional support available helps immensely.

The healing process is unique to the individual and does not follow a specific time line. Set your own pace and take your time. Take advantage of resources offered through women's shelters, rape crisis centers, hot lines and support groups through your local hospital.  Don't be afraid or ashamed to reach out  and ask caring women who staff these centers to help you.

You may experience a response to trauma several months later.  It may be in the form of physical ailments, pain in your stomach that suddenly transfers to your back or a sudden onset of incredible terror.   Anxiety and depression are a common response as well as sleeplessness, fear, and uncontrollable crying.  Flashbacks, nightmares may signal post traumatic stress disorder.  Be aware in a change in behaviors that you don't consider normal.

Call a rape crisis counselor immediately.  It is normal to have feelings of panic long after the trauma is over.

It takes time to heal from any trauma so be patient with yourself.

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