Rape: How to Handle the Situation
By Bridget Maloney
As a junior in high school, the last thing I could imagine happening was my best being friend being raped. At the end of March, my friend, Jenny, and I were on our way to Florida for Spring Break. For the first week we went to the beach, out to dinner, shopping, and met up with friends. On the last night of our vacation, Jenny and I decided to go to Ft. Lauderale to have dinner and go to new clubs.
The night started nothing shy of fun. Jenny and I met two guys, Chris and Ben, and danced the night away. From what we could gather, Chris and Ben were good looking, funny, and intelligent. They were natives of Ft. Lauderdale and offered to buy us drinks.
Later on the night, Chris and Ben drove us back. Jenny decided to hang out with Chris longer, but I was exhausted and I headed up to bed. Someone needed to have a clear head when we went to the airport early in the morning.
I dont recall what time I was woken up in the night from what I though was a bad dream. Before my eyes was Jenny trembling with fear, hysterically crying. Chris had raped Jenny. At that moment, I froze. I had never been in a position where I had no idea how to react. The only thing I could do was to tell her that everything was going to be okay even though at that moment it didnt seem possible.
Since neither Jenny nor I knew what to do, we made some crucial mistakes. What I can tell you from the experience is how to handle a rape situation in the best, most efficient way possible.
Any contact with water and/or soap removes evidence. The first thing that Jenny did after she was raped was shower. If she had not been so badly bruised there would have been no physical evidence from the attack. Victims may be tempted to shower after they have been violated, but without physical evidence, rapes generally turn into a he said, she said battle. This makes it very difficult to prove the incident actually happened.
I did not know to do this. Instead, Jenny and I decided to take a cab to the hospital. The hospital immediately called 911 when I told them what happened. Within minutes two squad cares and an ambulance arrived.
According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network, "One of the most startling aspects of sex crimes is how many go unreported. The most common reasons given by women for not reporting these crimes are the belief that it is a personal matter and that they fear reprisal from the assailant." Jenny was terrified that the Chris would come after her is she called the police. The police eventually picked up Chris and Jenny went over the details of the incident again. As scary as it was, it was an important part of what to do in a situation; it got her attacker off the stree
Because Jenny had showered after the attack there was no evidence of the offender that could be found on her body, only visible bruises that indicated she had been violated. However, police were able to find traces of hair and other fibers that belonged to the offender. SO if there is no evidence on the body of the victim, there may be some on the clothes and this could help identify the offender.
Notify the victims parents.
This may be difficult to do, but parents can recreate a comfort zone that is lost when one goes through such an experience. Trust is lost, and this has to redevelop. Parents can only help in this area.
More Information About Rape
Rape has become an out of control crime against women. According to statistics put out by the U.S. Department of Justice, "Between 1995 and 1996 more than 670,000 women were the victim of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assaults." Some other statistics about rape that are provided on the R.A.I.N.N. web page are:
-Somewhere in America a women is raped every 2 minutes
-One of every four rapes takes place in a public area or parking garage
-29% of female victims reported that the offender was a stranger
-68% of rapes occurs between the hours of 6pm and 6am
-At least 45% of rapists were under the influence of alcohol
-75% of female rape victims requires medical care after the attack
R.A.I.N.N. is a non-profit organization founded by Tori Amos, a rape survivor. She established this support group to aid in the healing process of those who have been violated. Four thousand victims called in for help within the first thirty days it started. If rape happens to you or a friend there are many places to get help, R.A.I.N.N. is just one of them. You can reach R.A.I.N.N. at 1-800-656-HOPE.