It is never your fault. Nobody deserves to be raped. Nothing you have done means that you caused the rape.

•    Get to a safe place. It is important that your safety is your number one priority.

•    Tell someone you trust what happened. This person may be asked to support your evidence in court, and is known as the ‘first report witness’. If the first person you tell is a stranger, try to write down their details, and remember their name.This way the police will be able to contact them.

•    If you have to change your clothes, put your clothing in a paper bag. A paper bag keeps the evidence intact, whereas a plastic bag will affect evidence.

•    If you are going to report your rape, do not wash yourself even if you really want to. At  the health facility they will collect evidence from your body, which could assist the investigation.

•    Try not to eat or drink if your mouth has come into contact with the alleged perpetrator’s body or penis.

•    Even if you are drunk or under the influence of drugs, you still have a right to report the rape. Do not let this stop you from accessing help.

Reporting the rape to the police

You don’t have to decide if you are going to report the rape to the police straight away. It is your right to report up to twenty years after the event.

But, evidence is most able to be collected soon after the rape (within three days). Reporting within three days also increases the chances that the police are able to catch the alleged perpetrator.

Go to a health centre for care

•    If you are injured, go straight to a health facility (hospital, your doctor, community health centre) for treatment.

•    If you are at a police station, they can call an ambulance for you to take you to the health care facility.

•    Tell the health care worker that you have been raped, and they will assist you with getting medication that can prevent the transmission of HIV if you are currently HIV negative. These medicines are only effective within 72 hours of exposure to HIV, and are most effective within eight hours of the rape, so it is important that you try to visit a health care facility as soon as possible.

•    They will also treat any injuries you have. If you decide to report the rape, the health care worker can call the police to the health care facility.

Follow the series to find out information on:

•    Part 2 – What happens at the health facility
•    Part 3 – Reporting the rape to the police
•    Part 4 – Getting counselling

If you would like to find out more about the process of reporting a rape, watch the virtual tour of the criminal justice system here.