Hesperian Health Guides
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Forced sex, sex that is not wanted or agreed to, is rape. Women or girls may be raped by people they know, strangers, family members, or their husbands or boyfriends. Men and boys are also raped. For more on rape, see the chapter on Violence (in development).
Someone who has been raped will need first aid for any physical injuries. She will also need emotional support and care. Treat her with kindness and understanding. Do not blame her.
Rape can cause pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive pills or the right dose of some types of birth control pills can prevent pregnancy when taken within 5 days of sex. Rape can also spread sexually transmitted infections. See Genital Problems and Infections (in development). To prevent HIV after rape, see HIV and AIDS (in development).
She may find it difficult for you to see or touch her, so explain what you will be doing as you examine or treat her and ask for her permission before touching her.
If her genitals have tears, cuts, or bruises, these will be painful. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If there is a lot of bleeding in the anus or vagina, use pressure to stop the bleeding. Teach her how she can do it herself, in case bleeding starts again later.
For small cuts and tears, soak the genitals in warm water 3 times a day. Pouring water over the genitals while passing urine will help reduce burning feelings. Larger cuts or tears may need to be sutured.
Look for injuries to other parts of her body as well, and see other parts of this chapter to treat specific problems. A record of the physical exam and any injuries
is necessary if the woman reports the case to the police — even if she goes to the police much later.
Follow up with the woman in a few days to see how she is doing emotionally and physically. Check cuts or tears for signs of infection. Bladder infections (see Difficulties with Urinating—in development) are especially common after forced or violent sex.