Rape cases are becoming a scary reality for women in our country. The cases earlier this year in Hathras, Balrampur, Bulandshahr and thousands more that never get media attention are condemnable but unlikely to stop soon.
To help the millions of rape survivors in India, Pink Legal and Veera Health got together to create a step-by-step guide about your rights and ways of working through legal, police and health issues after the incident. This is a preview of the complete report that will be launched in December. Scroll down to read about the first steps that should follow after a rape occurs:
Go for a medical examination
Visit a specialist especially if you are injured in any way. Don’t take a bath before medical examination if you can avoid it. This is to make sure any evidence on your body, like DNA samples or body fluids are not washed off, and are recorded in the medical examination.
Save all evidence
Like clothes, any hair samples, body fluids which have collected on any object, any movable objects that you may have come into contact with (like bedsheet).
Keep your clothes in a separate bag
If you have to change before you go to the police or for your medical exam, keep clothes in a bag carefully. Avoid any contact or tampering with them. Clothes worn by the survivor at the time of the crime may contain DNA of the accused, which will serve as evidence.
Make a quick note of all the important details of the crime
Like date, time, place, details of the accused (if accused is unknown then any marks like birthmark or tattoo which can be used to identify the accused), any witnesses, what you did before, what you did after, and any other details you may recollect. This will help you at the time of filing a police complaint and will be useful when the case goes to court. Do this even if you are unsure about going to the police, because it would help you if you decided to complaint later.
File a police complaint as soon as possible
Filing a complaint early has two main advantages: (i) You will remember all the important details as your memory is still fresh, and (ii) The police can start their investigation and prevent loss of time between the crime and the investigation.
Survivors of rape often go through immense physical and mental trauma and understandably, take time to file a complaint. Sometimes, complaints are even filed after years. Remember, there is NO TIME BAR on when you can file a complaint against a crime. You can file a police complaint whenever you feel ready. However, we highly recommend that you file it at the earliest possible so that evidence is not lost due to passage of time.
Watch this space for the complete handbook with details about the medical exam, getting legal help, navigating the trial, leveraging media and taking care of your mental health.
We’re here for you.
Veera Health x Pink Legal