Know your rights as a rape victim
RAPE AS DEFINED BY THE ACT
In terms of Section 3 of the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act. A person is guilty of the offence of rape if he or she has unlawfully and intentionally commits an act of sexual penetration with a complainant, without the consent of the complainant.
SEXUAL ACTS WITH A MINOR (under 18 years of age)
In terms of Section 15 of the Act, a person is guilty of the offence of statutory rape, if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration with a child despite the consent of the child for the commission of such act.
On the law aspect:
If you are a victim of rape, the sooner the matter is reported to the police station or you have been to the hospital the better, reasons being:
- You may be able to remember the events that occurred
- There is evidence that may be collected on your body that may be linked to the rapist.
NOTE: You will have to decide whether you want to report the rape to the police. You may not feel like making this decision so soon after being raped. However, the sooner a doctor examines you, the more likely she or he is to find strong proof on your body or on your clothes, such as blood or semen from the person who raped you. Bruises and cuts will stay on your body for a while, but semen, hair, saliva and blood can be lost quickly.
On the health aspect:
If you fear that you may be exposed to HIV, you need to receive medical attention within 72 Hours after the rape has occurred. The medical practitioner will give you antiretroviral to prevent HIV infection. The ARVs form part of a group of medicines called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP consists of ARVs, emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy and antibiotics to prevent certain other diseases
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER BEING RAPED:
- If you have a phone, call someone for help or the police, if not, try to find a safe place for safety
- Tell that person what has happened (in the court of law, such a person can be a witness to your case).
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, (within 72Hours).
- If you did not contact the police on the first instance, decide whether you want to report the matter to the police.
NOTE: if you were drunk at the time of the rape, do not let this prevent you from reporting the matter or obtaining medical attention. In terms of South African law, intoxication is not a defence for the rapist, and consent cannot be given whilst you are under the influence of alcohol/drugs.