LEAP21 4me was developed to support survivors of sexual assault in Ontario to document the assault in their own words and their own time. The app was designed by a former Ontario Crown Attorney who prosecuted sexual violence cases for many years. If you have been assaulted or harassed, you can document your experience with 4me. The step by step process allows you to capture details so that you have your own record of what happened. The information is saved and encrypted on a cloud. You are the only person with access so it’s important to store your password in a safe place. You also have an option to save the file to your computer.
Seek support for yourself. Everyone experiences trauma differently. There is no ‘right’ way to be after an assault. Contact your local sexual assault centre for support. You don’t have to decide right away if you are going to report it to police. However, there are things you need to know to keep your options open.
Collecting Physical Evidence - Immediately after the assault:
Consider going to the hospital to have a rape kit done. Ontario hospitals will collect the evidence and it will be saved for a year so that if you change your mind about reporting – the forensic evidence is there to support you. Take someone with you for support. Expect it to be a lengthy process.
The evidence is time sensitive – the longer you wait to gather it, the more it deteriorates. Collecting evidence does not mean you have to report the assault. You will have time later to make a decision.
Don’t shower – the water will take away the DNA evidence.
There are specialized sexual violence and domestic violence treatment units in some hospitals in Ontario. The staff in the hospital treatment units have had sexual violence training and the hospital has dedicated space that treats only sexual and domestic violence cases. If your hospital does not have a treatment unit, ask to be seen by someone who has training in sexual violence. In all situations, you should be believed and treated with respect. If you feel that is not happening, you have a right to ask for someone else to see you.
You have an option to put your name on the rape kit evidence or to remain anonymous. The rape kit evidence will be stored with the police for one year. The police will not act on it unless you ask them to.
If you decide to report:
Approximately 5% of victims report to police in the hope of finding justice. There is no time limit for you to go to the police and report a sexual assault. Take a support person with you. Your 4me account of the assault can help you remember what happened – even if time has passed. If you save it to the cloud it will be date stamped.
Just remember - if you save your 4me document to the cloud, be sure to keep your password as you are the only person who can ever access your document.