Your Rights

RIGHTS OF RAPE VICTIMS

Every victim of sexual assault should have the right:

  • To be treated with dignity and respect by institutional and legal personnel
  • To have as much credibility as a victim of any other crime
  • To be considered a victim of rape when any unwanted act of sex is forced on her/him through any type of coercion, violent or otherwise
  • To be asked only those questions that are relevant to a court case or medical treatment
  • To report or not report the rape to the police
  • To receive medical and mental health treatment, or participate in legal procedures only after giving her/his informed consent (information should include all options)
  • To be treated in a manner that does not usurp control from the victim, but which enables her/him to determine her/his needs and how to meet them
  • To not be exposed to prejudice against race, age, class, lifestyle or occupation
  • To have access to support persons, such as advocates, outside of the institutions
  • To have access to peer counseling
  • To be provided with information about her/his rights
  • To have the best possible collection of evidence for court
  • To not be asked questions about prior sexual experience
  • To have common reactions to rape such as sleeplessness, nightmares, hostility towards men, anxiety, fear etc. and no be considered pathological behavior
  • To have access to a secure living situation or other measures that might help to allay fears of future assault
  • To be assured strict confidentiality
  • To be considered a victim of rape regardless of the assailant’s relationship to the victim, such as the victim’s spouse
  • To have deterred her/his assailant by any means necessary. No victim should be criminally prosecuted for harming the assailant during or within a reasonable period of time after the rape; or for harming the assailant in the process of preventing an attempted rape
  • To receive medical treatment without parental consent if she/he is a minor
  • To have access to legal advice
  • To have a preliminary hearing in each case when an arrest has been made
  • To have the case prosecuted by criminal justice personnel who support if the case goes to court
  • To be advised of the possibility of a civil suit

-Rape Crisis Center, Washington DC 1976