Ask yourself

When did I first get frightened and feel unsafe?

What did I do then?

What did I think?

What did I feel?

What did I stop myself doing?

What did I think of doing but couldn’t do?

What did I want to do but couldn’t do?

Why couldn’t I do what I wanted?

What was I trying to achieve?

What went on in my mind?


What did he do next?

How did he do it? Describe it as accurately as possible (see Language to Describe Rape and Violence)

What did he say?

How did he say it?


How did I respond then?

What did I do?

What did I stop myself from doing?

What went on in my mind?

What did I feel then?

What did I do with my body? With my eyes? Where did I look?

What did I say? What couldn’t I say?

How did I try to protect myself even in small ways?

How did I try to communicate I didn’t want this? Even in small ways?

What else did I do, think, and didn’t do?

What did he do next?

How did he do it? And so on


Ask yourself these questions from the start of feeling frightened and feeling unsafe, to getting away, to what you did after you were safe again.

Describing how you resisted also makes clearer what the attacker did to prevent you from fighting back, and by the same token better exposes his violence.

Attackers and rapists expect you to resist and they take steps to stop you resisting even before you begin. They will tell you not to scream or they’ll beat you harder in order to shut you up and to make sure you don’t alert others. They will put on loud music so no one can hear if you scream, they will threaten you with a weapon so it is clear they have the advantage and so that you don’t fight back. All these actions are their tactics to stop you from resisting or from fighting back.