Rape victims often struggle for weeks or months or even years to make a police report. Some victims feel ashamed to come out in the open and disclose the rape. Others, especially young children, do not even realize what would have been done to them and the evil morality behind such an act. Not reporting rape early can, however, have detrimental effects on the victim. Here are five advantages of reporting rape as soon as possible.
1 Making a report early can help save one’s health. In Zimbabwe a rape victim, who makes a report before 72 hours have passed can be assisted with Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PeP). This is medication to prevent the transmission of HaiV and AIDS. The treatment minimises the risk of one getting the disease and should be administered not later than the 72 hours.
2 Making a report early will also butress one’s case in court. The law relating to sexual matters provides that a report met be made timeously to the available person. Reporting early may help to ascertain the credibility of a witness. The report must not be an afterthought or a mere fabrications because of a fallout between two people, so reporting as soon as the heinous act is done will help build a strong case against the perpetrator.
3 Reporting early also helps in pregnancy prevention and termination. Unwanted pregnancies as a result of rape can have pyschological effects on the victim for life. An early report can enable health professionals to give pregnancy prevention pills, which in most instances must be taken 72 hours after the sexual act.
4 Making an early report also helps in getting counselling early, which can curb instances of suicide and self harm. It is prudent that a rape victim gets emotional healing early through proper counselling services as early as possible.
5 Making a report may also dispense with the false sense of shame associated with being raped and give renewed strength to the rape victim. Judith Herman in her book “Trauma and recovery: From domestic abuse to political terror” , wore,”Survivors undertake to speak about the unspeakable in the belief that this will help others. In so doing, they feel connected to a power larger than themselves”.