Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What to Do After Partner Rape

By Guest Writer, Allison Gamble 

No means no, even if he "loves" you. If you have been raped by your partner, it is a crime every bit as illegal and traumatic as any other sexual assault. The fact that you are intimately familiar with your rapist does not change the criminal status of their behavior, but it can put you at additional risk.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, "Research indicates that survivors of partner rape are more likely to be raped multiple times when compared to stranger and acquaintance rape survivors. As such, partner rape survivors are more likely to suffer severe and long-lasting physical and psychological injuries." It is very important that you take steps to get yourself to safety.

Securing Your Safety
If you are able to leave the premises, do so immediately. If you can't, call the police. Dial 911 and get help immediately. If you can't safely use your phone, ask a friend or neighbor to allow you to use theirs immediately after the assault. It is important to find a way to get help as soon as possible. The police will be able to assist you to safety. If you have children, take them with you.

Seek Out Professionals
Contact your local rape crisis center or women's shelter. Often, workers in these facilities will have a psychology degree, and will be able to assist you emotionally. These organizations have information and resources like shelter, clean clothes, childcare, counseling, and legal advice, at their disposal to help you. They will also provide you with a network of understanding friends who can help you make difficult choices at this time. Contacting national organizations like Safe Horizon or After Silence will help you connect with other people of both genders who have been through similar circumstances. Many sites offer online communities where you can share your feelings and heal together.

Preserve Crime Evidence

Preserve evidence of the crime against you to the best of your ability. Do not shower. Save the clothing you were wearing when the assault occurred in a paper bag. Try not to eat or drink anything, and don't clean your fingernails or brush your teeth.

Get Medical Assistance
As soon as possible, go to your local emergency room. If you are unable to call the police, go directly to the hospital, where emergency workers can help you report the crime. Have your injuries treated, and complete a rape kit, even if you don't think you want to pursue prosecution at the time. You may change your mind later, or choose to use the evidence as leverage to end the relationship or file a personal protection order.

Get the Support You Need
Call a trusted friend of family member to be with you. Your loved ones can offer support or childcare if you need it, but they won't know you do unless you say so! Talk with trusted friends and family members about the assault. Talking about the rape will help you heal from the assault, and friends can help you find additional assistance and resources.

Take Legal Action
While this step can be difficult and intimidating, it is important to take legal action against your rapist. At the very least, obtain a personal protection order against the perpetrator. Better still, prosecute them and have them put in jail. Rape is a crime, even when your romantic partner is the rapist. Remember that you are worthwhile. You deserve to be protected against sexual predators and to move forward with a happy and productive life after assault.

"Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing."

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