Health after Rape or Sexual Assault
Your emotional and physical health is important.
If you have recently experienced sexual violence you may have injuries which need medical attention. These injuries may be internal or external. There may also be a risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It is natural to feel scared or nervous about going to a doctor or clinic.
If you think there is a risk of pregnancy you can take the emergency contraceptive pill up to three days (72 hours) after an attack. An IUD often called a coil can be fitted up to five days (120 hours) and must stay inside you until the time of your next period. You can get emergency contraception from local family planning and sexual health clinics.
The Rape Crisis Helpline or Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre can help to find your closest service. You can also buy the emergency contraceptive pill from chemists for a cost of £25.
If you are pregnant and do not wish to continue with the pregnancy you can ask your GP or a doctor at a family planning clinic for a termination (abortion). It is your decision and no one has a right to tell you what you should do.
If you are concerned about STIs you can visit your local family planning or sexual health clinic for testing. You don’t need to tell them what happened unless you wish to and you don’t need to give them your real name. The services are free and confidential. If any of your tests are positive for STIs, the clinic will give you the right treatment such as antibiotics.
If you are having an HIV test it is worth considering when best to do this. This is because it takes 12 weeks for the infection to show up. You can also have these tests done by your GP but they must record the test and the result in your medical record.
If you experienced sexual violence some time ago you may have been in poor health since then. It is not unusual to experience pains associated with specific injuries or more unspecific pains, for example in your abdomen. The effects of sleeplessness, depression and flashbacks can all be physical and associated with general ill health.
It is important to ask for help.