What to do if you or someone you know has been raped

What should I do when I have been raped/someone I know has been raped?

  • Get to a safe place as soon as possible
  • Call somebody you trust who can be there for you
  • Tell this person- this is difficult but it is important, as this person can also support you through the legal process
  • Do not wash yourself - there may be hair, blood or semen on your body and clothes that is important evidence of the rape
  • If you are injured, go straight to a nearby clinic, hospital or doctor
  • Decide whether you are going to report the rape.

If you need immediate help and support call any of the following numbers:

  • Rape Crisis: 021 447 9762
  • For detailed information refer to rapecrisis.org.za
  • If there is a Thuthuzela Care Centre, close by - go to it - A Thuthuzela Care Centre is a centre at a hospital for rape survivors where you can get medical help, counselling and report the rape.
  • Visit https://www.healthsites.org.za/ to find your nearest Thuthuzela Care Centre

If you have been raped - what are your rights?

  • You have the right to get medical help immediately
  • You have the right to get medication to prevent HIV infection - Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
  • You have the right to get medication to prevent potential sexually transmitted infections
  • You have the right to get medication to prevent pregnancy
  • You have the right to make a decision about whether to report the rape
  • You have the right to make your statement in a private room
  • You have the right to make your statement to a female officer, if there is one
  • You have the right to make your statement in your own language
  • You have the right to have a friend/ family member with you for support
  • You have the right to receive accurate information
  • You have the right to be treated with fairness, respect and human dignity.

Getting Medical Support

Getting medical support is key

If you are reporting the rape soon after it happened, you should get to a hospital/clinic/doctor as soon as possible.

  • It is important to take care of your body and the potentially long-term harmful effects the rape could have
  • Make sure that within 72 hours (3 days) you take:
    • The Morning After Pill (MAP) to prevent pregnancy
    • An HIV test and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection
    • Antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • If you lay a charge, medical evidence is very important and can be lost if you don't have the forensic medical examination soon after the rape
  • A doctor will examine every part of your body to find and collect samples of hair, blood or semen. This is part of the police investigation to gather medical evidence (forensic evidence) of the crime. This can be experienced as invasive, but just remember it for the purposes of collecting the evidence.
  • You may also have injuries externally or internally that require medical attention.
  • Get counselling and support to deal with the immediate trauma you have experienced. There should be a counsellor available at a TCC centre to provide this.
  • Ask this counsellor if you can come back or refer you to a place where you can get continuing support.
  • You will be asked permission to do a HIV test so that you can receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) i.e. taking antiretroviral (ARV) medication for 28 days after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

Preventing HIV infection with Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) = Taking ARVs, for a short time (28 days), to prevent HIV

A 28-day course of ARVS, known as HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, is the most effective way of preventing HIV after possibly being exposed to the virus.

  • PEP is most effective when it is started 6 - 8 hours after rape. However, you can still start PEP up to 72 hours (3 days) after the rape.
  • You will be asked to come back to the clinic/hospital to get your ARVS (PEP) - it is very important that you do this.
  • The ARVs may have side effects, like headaches, nausea, drowsiness and confusion but you can get tablets and support to help with these side effects.

PEP can only work effectively to prevent HIV if you take the whole 28-day course.

Reporting Rape

Why is it important to report the rape?

  • Rape is a serious offence and the rapist should be brought to justice
  • To get help and support from the legal system
  • To regain a sense of control and safety
  • To ensure your safety and protection from the rapist

It is important to remember that:

  • If you were drunk at the time of the rape, don't let that stop you. Being drunk is not a crime - rape is.
  • If you know the person who raped you after you had been close to them, don't let that stop you. You have a right to say no at any point.
  • If the person bought you drinks or gave you money and gifts and you feel guilty about that, don't let that stop you. You have the right to choose when, how and with whom to have sex.

How do I report rape?

  • Go to the police station, nearest to where the rape took place, as soon as you can
  • Ask somebody you trust to go with you for support
  • If you don't want to go, you can ask the police to send a patrol car to your house or the crime scene - this may take some time
  • If there is a Thuthuzela Care Centre close by, go there, as they will contact the police to come there to take the statement
  • At some police stations, there are specially-trained detectives from the Family Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Unit (FCSU)
  • They should take you to a Victim Support Room or Victim Friendly Room, which is a safe, private and comfortable space in or near the police station
  • A skeleton statement should be taken and translated into your own language:
    • What happened?
    • Where?
    • Who was involved?
    • The statement taking is difficult because of the type of questions you will be asked and the kind of detail you have to provide
  • Keep the telephone number of the police station, the name of the officer and the case number written down - it is important information for you to keep
  • Do not sign your statement unless you agree with everything in it
  • If you remember something after you have made the statement, because often the shock could make you forget some detail, you can contact the officer to add it
  • You can report the rape and request no further investigation - in other words not lay a charge
  • If you are afraid that the rapist will intimidate you or harm you because you have reported it, tell the police so that they are aware of it.

Click here to go to the Survivor Healing Map.

Where can I get help?

DSD Gender Based Violence Command Centre

0800 428 428

Stop Gender Violence Hot Line

0800 150 150

Rape Crisis

021 447 9762

Rape Crisis, Port Elizabeth

041 484 38 04

Greater Rape Intervention Project Counselling Help Line

083 310 1321

Teddy Bear Clinic

011 484 4554

Childline South Africa

0800 055 555

SA Depression and Anxiety Group

011 262 6396

Woman Against Rape Trauma Centres


About Us

Brothers for Life is a social and well-being movement aimed at mobilising men to take responsibility for their own health. We hope to achieve this by promoting positive male norms and encourage men to test for HIV and undergo Medical Male Circumcision (MMC), actively take a stand against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in their communities.

Our Manifesto

Brothers who stand for responsible relationships
Brothers who stand for responsible parenting
Brothers who stand for responsible behaviour
Brothers who live positively
Brothers who do the right thing
Brothers who stand for life