What is a Rape Kit?
A Rape Kit means that you have the tools to collect DNA evidence in case you were raped. Usually, the DNA evidence is collected at a crime scene and during the medical examination of the victim. But what if you decide not to report the crime immediately, out of fear or shame or any other reasons you might have? That´s the Rape Kit for. It allows you to collect the evidence from your clothes and body at home without involving the police. You will, however, have to go to a hospital or call one of the local assault services for support.
What will you find in a Rape Kit?
The package contains first of all instruction how to use it correctly so the evidence can get used in court. It also has a documentation form for you to list all details of the assault and examination. Most importantly it contains bags and paper sheets to collect the evidence and even for blood samples and a comb to gather possible evidence traces from your hair.
How to prepare?
Do not bathe, shower or wash your hair, do not wash your clothes, but store them in a paper bag to keep the evidence secured for later. It is best to have the exam during the first 72 hours after the assault but even at a later point professionals will be able to gather some evidence.
Why should you do the exam?
It will give you the time to file a lawsuit at a later time and increases the likelihood of prosecution. Most of all, you do this for yourself. Any assault can harm your health and you should get a medical check to make sure there is no lasting damage that will affect you later in your life.
How long does it take?
The exam takes between one and several hours but you can stop and ask for a pause at any time.
Who will be present?
The nurse and the patient and nobody else will be present during the first conversation. You will have to tell the nurse the events in as much detail as possible. This is personal and it is also important that nobody is present, not just to make you more comfortable, but also so the nurse can testify at court that nobody influenced your opinion. No law enforcement and no family members should be present, but you can ask for emotional support during the exam.
A trained nurse will always make sure she has your ongoing consent. You can stop at any time! And you can also store the evidence anonymously. This is called a Jane Doe Kit.
You will not always find the perfect circumstances
Not always the nurses will be trained, some might be in training. Not always nurses of the same gender will be present. Not always people will treat you with respect and care. But don´t forget: You are a human being! You went through a traumatic event. You deserve respect and care and support. You have the right to ask for it. You have the right to say “no”. You can walk out of the hospital and go to another. This is your body and your history and if you don´t get treated the way you deserve, you have the right to stand up for yourself and get the exam you need by people who have the knowledge and a heart.
And note: The examination won´t cost you!