What is a Rape Kit

Rape kit is a medical kit which is used to collect evidence from a rape victim’s body following a sexual assault. It may or may not be used by the professional during a forensic medical exam. The kit was developed by Louis R. Vitullo and was called as Vitullo Kit. It included a head to toe examination. This kit can help in collecting the DNA that may be have been left by the suspect which in turn helps to trace the rapist. The person who performs the exam must have received special training and usually they are called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or forensic examiner. The contents in the rape kit can vary but usually it contains:

Instructions Bags and sheets for evidence collection Swaps for collecting fluids from the lips, cheeks, thighs, vagina, anus and buttocks Blood collection devices Comb used to collect hair and fiber from the victim’s body Clear glass slides Envelopes for preserving the victim’s clothes, head hair, pubic hair and blood samples Nail pick for scraping rubble from beneath the nails White sheets to catch physical evidence stripped from the body Documentation forms Labels

All the evidences collected by the rape kit are used to identify the rapist. As the exam continues, each envelope is filled with evidence and then it is sealed. The kit is then stored until it is presented in the court. After a forensic medical exam, a blood test is done which checks for pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases. Urine sample is also taken and then the injuries requiring immediate attention are treated. The exam can be very exhaustive and can be very upsetting. So the examination room should be decorated in a friendly way and privacy of the patient should be assured. If pregnancy result will be positive or results for any other sexually transmitted diseases will be positive then your doctor will prescribe you the medication for this. The victim should be informed about the time the exam will take as the patient need to be prepared for it. After this the victim is allowed to take decision whether she wants to pursue the case or not. The evidences collected by forensic medical exam can strengthen your case. But it can be done only with your consent. Photographs of bruises, sprains, injuries can be taken and can be stored until your case is closed. This exam should be conducted within 72 hours of the sexual assault. Sexual Assault can be very traumatic so the victim needs great care from the people around her.

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