What to do if you have been raped

Go to the doctor

It certainly makes sense

  • to see a gynaecologist within 24 hours to have any injuries attended to and to ascertain whether you have contracted an STD
  • to find out about testing for HIV
  • to get a prescription for the “morning after pill” if you wish to
  • to ask whether physical evidence of the rape and the results of medical examinations can be documented in case you later decide to report the rape to the police. (The doctor is not obliged to provide this service.)

You should also keep in paper bags any clothing, underwear or objects that carry evidence of the act of violence.

New to Berlin:
If you do not yet wish to report the rape to the police
, the Gewaltschutzambulanz (Outpatient Clinic for Protection against Violence) of the Charité Hospital Berlin can confidentially secure forensic evidence of the crime. You can reach the Gewaltschutzambulanz of the Charité by telephone between 8:30 am and 3 pm under 450 570 270. The so-called VSS (securing forensic evidence without a police report following sexual violence) will then take place within 72 hours after the rape, Monday - Friday 8 am to 6 pm. Be sure to make an appointment under 450 570 270 and bring your health insurance card and your ID card, passport or some other form of ID with you.
The DNA traces will be stored for one year, during which you can file a report and the police can pick up the DNA samples from the Charité. After that the evidence will be disposed of.

Filing a police report

Sexual violence (including by a spouse or partner) is a crime. You have a right to file a report. The police are obliged to give you a hearing and launch an investigation. You can use the services of a translator during police questioning, and you can also ask to be questioned by a policewoman. If you file a police report immediately after the rape, the criminal police can take you to the doctor for a medical examination. Physical injuries are often documented directly at the police station with photos.

To report the rape you can:
go directly to the criminal police. This enables you to avoid being questioned more than once. The Department for Offences against the Person, LKA 413 at Keithstraße 30, Berlin-Tiergarten is responsible for reports of rape. There you will be subjected to extensive questioning and the police officers will launch an investigation. If you first reported the rape to a different police station, you will subsequently be summoned to the criminal police.

  • Call the police under 110 and go to the nearest police station
  • Or file a report with the public prosecutor
  • You can also give the police a written statement
  • If you are summoned to appear before the public prosecutor or in court, you must testify in person.

Depending on the gravity of the offence, once a crime has been reported the report cannot be subsequently withdrawn. Pursuing the investigation is then in the public interest (official offence). Therefore it is good if you decide yourself whether to report the rape.

A crime does not have to be reported immediately after it was committed – the limitation period for rape is 20 years – so before deciding whether to report it you can obtain advice, from LARA, for example.

Recovery takes time

Being raped, whether by a stranger or by someone you are close to, can trigger a shock reaction.

  • For several hours or even days you may feel out of touch with your normal life
  • You may be restless and tense, depressed or exhausted. You may also feel paralysed and numb.
  • Even after the shock has worn off, symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders or nightmares may continue to occur.

All these feelings are normal and usually disappear of their own accord after a few weeks or months. During this time it is helpful to be in an environment in which you feel safe and protected.

Your body and your mind both need time to realise that the danger is over.

It may help to pay especially close attention to your needs or to recall what helped you in stressful situations or crises in the past.

Your family, partners and friends can provide support.

Sexual harassment at work

Sexual harassment at work is an everyday problem that occurs in many different employment sectors and is not an isolated incident. Although the legal parameters are clear, many employers fail to intervene or simply don’t know how to deal with such situations. Moreover, many of those who become targets of sexual harassment do not realise that the law is on their side.

Under the German equal treatment act (AGG) your employer is obliged to take preventive measures to protect you. But often enough employers fail to put such measures in place. If you are subjected to sexual harassment at work, you are legally entitled to protection from your employer. In addition, you can contact the Complaints Office of your place of work; every place of work is legally obliged to have one.

Harassment of this kind often involves one person exerting their power over another. Often those affected are dependent on their job to earn their living, making it more difficult for them to fight back and to protect themselves sufficiently. But you don’t have to deal with such a situation by yourself. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment at work we can support and advise you and help you to find ways to resolve the situation. .

Important addresses:

For legal advice you can contact the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency whose website is also in English (Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes)

The Agency has published a leaflet (in German) for those who have experienced sexual harassment at work:
Grenzen setzen – Was tun bei sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz? (Setting boundaries – What to do if you experience sexual harassment at work)