Arm yourself.

In addition to collecting evidence, you can conduct your own investigation. By doing this unobtrusive investigatory work yourself, you will have a complete packet of evidence to provide to authorities if you decide to move forward in the judicial system.  

1. Detailed narrative.

Type a detailed narrative of the events surrounding the assault in as much detail as possible.  Once you have completed the narrative, send it in an email to yourself then print it or save it electronically. This will place an immutable time and date stamp on your story if the details are ever questioned in the future. 

Information to include:


Before the assault

  • All prior introductions or interactions with the perpetrator.

  • Had anyone spoken of the perpetrator prior to the day of the assault, for example, what did you know about the perpetrator prior to that day, what were the plans for the evening, did the plans for the evening include that person, etc.

  • Detailed list of activities on the day of the assault. Detailed lists should include approximate times, people involved, locations, and every possible bit of information. The more detail the better in the long run.  

After the assault
Detail an account of everything that happened after the assault.

  • Where did you go first?  

  • Who did you tell first? 

  • Did anyone know what happened? 

  • Did anyone ever discuss the incident afterwards?  In person, on the phone, or on social media?

  • Did you go to a medical facility? 

  • What did you say to the medical personnel to get a rape kit? 

  • What did the medical staff say to you in terms of filing a police report? 

  • Did medical personnel make any comment about the hospital’s requirement to notify the police?

  • The medical staff could be extremely important witnesses because they will corroborate all of the information about your visit to the medical facility.  

During the assault
By writing down the details of the actual assault, you are memorializing the information as you best remember. If you come forward  with a case in the future, you will appreciate having documented these details shortly after the assault.

As investigations continue, additional details are often recalled.  This is typical but it will be very helpful for you to try to remember as many details sooner than later.  If something of significance is remembered later, it can be a distraction from the main case because questions may be raised about inconsistency. 


Important considerations

  • Answer the Who, What, When, Where, and How questions.  

  • Consent, or lack thereof, is key in sexual assault cases.  Consent factors include turning away, saying no, pushing the perpetrator away or other similar actions that indicate lack of consent.  

  • It is also important to note if you were incapacitated in any way by drugs or alcohol and to describe the use of force.


2. Medical Records.  

Get all of your medical records from the medical facility. 

3. Social media from relevant time-frame.

If a case is going to be based almost entirely on witness testimony and electronic data, you can help by locating and printing the social media from the relevant time-frame. The significant time-frame for review begins at the time of the first pertinent mention of the perpetrator on any social media. A reference could be something as small as a post from the perpetrator or a friend you confided in asking you how you are doing. 

4. Computer history. 

All of your computer activity from the incident and the next day(s) is vital.  Corroborating information in your computer history could include Google searches you made about rape kits, sexual assaults, etc., and other contextual searches or research you conducted at or near the time of the assault.  Print out the history and details of the sites you visited.

5. List of potential witnesses.  Include names and contact information.

  • Anyone who saw you in the time leading up to the assault.

  • Anyone who may have seen or heard the assault.

  • All people you told about the assault.  Did you tell them in person, on the phone, in writing?

  • Anyone who confronted the perpetrator about the assault?  What did the perpetrator say about the assault?