So You Want to Get A Rape Kit

Great! it’s unfortunately a long, seemingly invasive process but a necessary item to ensure evidence is preserved and your assailant has little to no room for reasonable doubt. And though I can’t speak from personal experience as I didn’t go to the emergency room immediately, I have pulled information from close friends who did get it done as well as a phenomenal resource known as End The Backlog, an extension of The Joyful Heart Foundation, that is directed at helping end the disgusting amount of backlogged kits waiting to be tested. End The Backlog provides great information of what to expect as well as how you personally can help get more kits tested and put rapists behind bars.

So here’s what you can expect. Go to an emergency room once you’ve been raped and ask for a rape kit to be performed. Likely, it will be done by a doctor or a nurse and can take up to 6 hours to make sure no evidence is left behind as well as that it’s preserved properly.

  1. Whomever is examining you will go over your medical history and you’ll have a physical, during which most of the evidence collecting will occur.
  2. You’ll undress on top of a large sheet in order to catch any lingering hairs, follicles, or other evidence that falls from your clothes
  3. Your clothes will be then tested for further examination and to collect any further evidence.
  4. During the physical exam, any injuries, bruising, or other side effects from the assault will be documented. The doctor will scrape under your fingernails, collect salivia, and swab different parts of your body for further biological evidence that may have been left behind

It is important to know that you can decline any part of the examination and if you’re confused AT ALL during the process, ask for it to be further explained. You can learn more about the process as well as your rights as a survivor at End The Backlog.

Rape kits are definitely a crucial part of collecting evidence for bringing your perpetrator to trial. But they are no means a crucial part of your healing process.

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