VICTIMS OF RAPE: AS A MEDICAL STUDENT, INTERN, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

As medical students, house officers, medical officer e.t.c. We would get to meet females who are victims of sexual assault especially rape. If you have ever encountered such a person, how did you respond to her? If you haven’t then let’s consider how it is that you would respond to such a person? Just as to every other patient we encounter at the ward, See the link below on the basic principles of patient care http://doctorsquarters.com/8-ways-to-help-patients-feel-human/.

However, this patient needs not just medical care but phycological care to get through with the traumatic experience. As students and doctors, we are called upon to help victims get through the traumatic experience as far they remain our patients. 

The Government has its own role to play as Justice For All (J4A) and Sexual Assault and Referral Centres (SARC) of the DFID have embarked on training of 46 medical practitioners and social workers on handling of rape victims.

The participants are from Zamfara, Yobe, Kaduna, Enugu, Ekiti, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states and are being trained on technical skills, forensic examination and counselling.

Speaking at the ongoing event on Friday in Enugu, the Manager of St. Mary’s SARC, Manchester City in Britain, Mrs Bernie Ryan, said the programme was organised to ensure its sustainability across Nigeria.

“We organised the program in Enugu so that when we go back to the U.K., local people here can sustain the services,’’ she said. She noted that J4A would continue to support SARC to ensure that the initiative was sustained in more states across Nigeria by establishing additional SARCs.

Ryan explained that SARC was established in Nigeria to bring in professionals to support people who experienced sexual violence from physical, emotional and medical perspective. She said that the essence of the training was to impact practical knowledge and wide scale experience to participants in relation to providing services to victims of sexual violence.

Ryan aid that the challenges were the rate of sexual violence and thelevel of traumas the victims faced which she described as “exacerbating’’. She extolled participants and urged them to change their thoughts and attitudes toward sexual victims so that more people would be helped.

A Medical Consultant and participant, Dr Nene Andem, said that the training had exposed her a lot to the challenges in the treatment of victims. “I have learnt a lot on how to take care of rape victims and as a rape client, I have learnt not to be judgmental towards them. “I have also learnt how to access and examine them since the circumstances they find themselves is very challenging,’’ she said.

She added that health awareness campaign would soon commence with relevant stakeholders to approach various communities in Nigeria through churches, mosques and schools.

NAN reports that a similar training was held in Jigawa, Niger and Kano states where 35 doctors, nurses and social workers were also trained on forensic medical examination and counselling in September 2010.

Source: Guardian News

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Cynthia Isuekebhor