It is even harder to know what to do immediately after such an incident.
Most victims do not know who to talk to for the fear of stigmatization. Others worry that nobody will believe them even when they tell the story of what seems to be a heartbreaking moment in their life.
Yet some will question you and make you feel like the cause of your own abuse. The reaction of some police officers also makes it difficult.
Despite all the above, most victims do not know the process of reporting rape. They do not know what to do or what not to do when you have to report sexual abuse.
Here is a process you can follow to report such incidents
1. Make sure you are safe.
Reach out to someone you trust for support. This must be a person who will not judge you no matter what. Remember you don’t have to go through this alone.
2. What happened was not your fault.
Realise that someone abused you and it was not your fault. That is the more reason you must seek justice. It will not be easy but do this for your own sanity.
3. Do not tamper with evidence
The Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Afia Tenge said that as a rape victim “you don’t need to take your bath after such an incident. It is very important that you come with anything that will help the investigation process.”
These things according to DSP Tenge include “things that came about in the cause of the struggle or in the cause of the sexual activity…the police will add it to our investigations.”
4. Report the case to the police
DSP Tenge said rape cases must be reported immediately to the police. She explained in cases where the police station where the case is reported does not have a Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), the victim will be given an extract to the nearest station where a unit can be found.
The victim will also be given a medical form.
5. Medical examination
The victim is given a medical request form, which he/she will take to a public hospital to be examined.
DSP Efia Tenge said the medical examination is not free and victims “have to pay GHC300 to GHC800” for this.
She lamented that sometimes victims who cannot afford this do not come back to the police leaving the case to hang or die a natural death.