Sexual assault comes in many forms. It can be rape, defilement, harassment, among many other sexual crimes. It is a traumatizing experience and its effects can last for a long time on both the victim and the people who interact with the victim.
Whereas it should be for the victim to decide if they should report to the police or not, it is encouraged that such a report be made. The police must also remember to treat every report of sexual assault with utmost confidentiality.
A report of sexual assault can be made any time, and it does not matter that it happened in the past. This, however, does not go well with a certain section of the public and it is considered a feminist attempt to have a forever flowing stream of reports of sexual assault. What this section of society forgets is that sexual assault happens to everyone, whether male or female and that it is an assault at the dignity of a person, and therefore, should not be a subject of limitation.
So, when you decide to report to the police, how do you do it and what happens thereafter?
First, you can call the police. On call, you can make a report of the sexual assault to the officer who attends to you.
You can also report by physically going to a police station near you. For emotional support, feel free to go with a trusted friend or relative.
At the police station, or while on call, the police will take your statement. Your statement will be taken in a private room and you will be interviewed by a police man specifically trained to take statements from victims of sexual assault.
If there is any evidence, please point it out to the police man. It may be body marks, or clothing.
If the assault involved penetration or the use of anything else to cause penetration, you will be referred to a medical facility for a medical examination. This is strictly for purposes of recording your evidence
You do not have to worry that you do not remember certain details. Just give your account as you remember it. But should you remember anything at any time, please get in touch with the police and give a further account of what you remember.
The police will then begin their investigations. Investigations will involve talking to witnesses, visiting the scene of the assault, taking photographs of any injuries on your body and reviewing any relevant information which may be helpful.
The police will also find the suspect and interview him or her. They may collect samples from his or her body and clothing to use as evidence.
It usually takes time for the police to put together their findings, and it may be a while until the trial begins.
If you have any questions on how the police and courts of law will handle a sexual assault case, please send us an email and we shall respond.
BY SAMALI BITALA
This article appears in our law newsletter Vol 2 Issue 3 of February 23rd 2018. To receive The Deuteronomy in real time, click HERE