I remember that morning sat in a police station in a huge empty room, staring. Just staring blankly into space. I remember a police officer walking in and sitting himself in front of me. He talks and I just keep on staring. Its half 5 in the morning. I have just been raped. Nothing is making sense. But it only takes two words to snap me back into the room… medical exam.
I agreed to it. I also came extremely close to walking away.
For hours I wasn’t allowed to drink. If I needed the toilet I had to go in a pot and bag any tissue I had used. And washing my hands, that was a big no. My clothes were taken from me and I was given someone else’s tracksuit to wear. I understood the importance of all of this, of course I did, but that didn’t make it any easier.
I felt dirty. I could still smell him on my skin. I could still feel his touch and taste the sick in my mouth. All I wanted was to scrub myself clean, to erase every inch of him from my skin. But of course I couldn’t, this was only the start of my medical exam.
I was moved to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre where I stood in a big white room wearing nothing but a medical robe.I was asked to drop my robe so I could be checked over for bruises, lacerations and broken bones. I was completely exposed. I had blood taken so they could check for alcohol and drugs and then came the part I was dreading… my vaginal examination.
For me this I where the severity of everything sank in. I had been raped. This man had taken everything away from me and he had raped me. It took everything for me to not be sick. It took everything for me to not cry. I lay there gripping the sides of the bed eyes closed trying to block everything out. It felt like a life time but eventually the examination was over and I got myself dressed feeling more numb that I knew was possible.
The forensic medical examination was the hardest thing I have had to go though since the night of my rape. But that does not mean that I regret making the decision to go through it. If I had to make the decision again would have the examination? Yes. It was made very clear to me from the beginning that it was not compulsory. It was my choice. I was in control.
I was and I still am determined to see that my rapist is put behind bars for what he did to me and I feel that consenting to the medical examination took me that one step closer to justice.