Monday, August 4, 2008

Sexual Assault and the Rape Kit

One very important aspect of the aftermaths of being raped, is the rape kit. It is good to know what the doctors and nurses did if you weren't quite coherent at the time ( I was not). If you have not seen a doctor GO NOW, DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TO LATE...AND DON'T SHOWER!



Please pay special attention to this post. I am appalled at how the doctor handled it. First, he had no idea how to do it. I can't point the finger at that maybe he had never had to. Due to this fact, he and the nurse had to read the directions which I believe prolonged the process.



What I can point the finger at is the doctors appalling remark while doing the kit. He stated "that these rape kits sure are tedious." He so didn't.................HE SO DID! EXCUSE ME FOR PUTTING YOU OUT DOC, NEXT TIME SOMEONE KICKS IN MY DOOR AND RAPES ME I'LL TRY TO GIVE YOU A HEADS UP, SO YOU CAN READ THE DAMN DIRECTIONS FIRST!! I think this comment qualifies for The Darwin Awards for just a stupid, uncaring, ignorant comment in such a serious situation.



While researching I found this article by Steve Thompson and thought it was very accurate.



When you go to the hospital after you've been sexually assaulted, the attending nurses will conduct a rape kit, which is nothing more than the collection of evidence. It helps to understand the process, however, during this stressful time. Unfortunately, examinations can feel like further violation of your body, and even though medical personnel are actually helping you.



First, you should know that you can refuse a rape kit, even after it is already started. The doctors and nurses at the hospital can provide you with medical attention without collecting evidence, and it is your decision if you want the police to pursue the case. While it is advisable to have the rape kit done in case you change your mind later, keep your rights in mind when you go to the hospital.



The first stage of the rape kit is to examine your body for physical injuries related to the sexual assault. The doctor or nurse will make sure any cuts, bruises, lacerations, contusions or broken bones are treated first, especially if you were beaten in addition to the rape. He or she will also take blood and urine samples to test for things like sexually transmitted diseases and infections.



Your clothes will be collected for the rape kit, but you will be provided new garments to wear home from the hospital. If you contact a rape crisis center, or ask the doctor to do it for you, they can bring you sweats or a t-shirt to wear so that you are comfortable. During the examination, however, you will probably be asked to wear a hospital gown to facilitate evidence collection.In many cases, victims of sexual assault are covered with a plethora of evidence. The nurse or doctor might swab your vaginal, anal and oral cells for semen, or they might use an alternate light source to help illuminate fluids that could be on your body. This is why rape victims should not bathe before they are examined; using soap and water will eradicate all evidence that could be used against your rapist.



The nurse or doctor will also look for foreign hairs that might belong to your attacker and transferred during the sexual assault. Pubic hairs, in particular, are often found on rape victims, which might contain DNA that the police can use to identify your attacker. All of this evidence will be placed in tubes and evidence button to be submitted to the lab with the rest of your rape kit. You might also be given a routine pelvic exam, like you would have at the gynecologist, but make sure to tell the nurse if you are in severe pain.



Other procedures might include scraping underneath your fingernails in case you scratched your rapist and trapped his DNA under your nails; the administration of emergency contraceptives; medication or topical treatments for your injuries; and anything else the doctor orders to make sure you leave the hospital in good health. You will also have the opportunity to speak with a police officer about your sexual assault, which is a good idea after the rape kit has been completed.







One things not mentioned is that when the examine for hairs they will pull scalp and pubic hairs from you. Although this is more trauma, it is good evidence. Also, they may take pictures of your wounds or abrasions, they did in my case. As humiliating as it is, let them if you can handle it, it is also great evidence.



My rape kit was done right after the incident and was extremely degrading. Although I was in an odd state perhaps disassociated, I do remember bits and pieces. When people yank things from your body you have a tendency to remember.





Victoria Placeo

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