Legal jargon is spoken, evidence is demanded, endless questions are asked and there is a fundamental lack of support in clarifying what all of this means.
This is the experience many sexual assault survivors face when it comes to taking their case to the criminal courts in Scotland.
At the moment, survivors have no right to independent legal advice unless their personal records – for example, medical records – are introduced in a trial.
In a recent report, Rape Crisis Scotland is proposing for independent legal advice to be a right all survivors are entitled to throughout court proceedings.
Speaking about their experience of the criminal justice system, a survivor in Rape Crisis Scotland’s Survivor Reference Group said: “[I had] no indication of the kind of questioning, which felt like a character annihilation. I didn’t feel prepared for how vicious it was. The way I was treated, and the lack of knowledge, left more trauma than the incident itself.
"I think more information would have been helpful.”
Miss M, who won a landmark civil action against a man who raped her at St Andrews University in 2013, after an earlier criminal trial ended in a not-proven verdict, said: “All I needed was more support or guidance, someone to sit and explain the process to me.”
A major key in enhancing sexual assault survivors’ experience of the criminal justice system is supporting them in understanding the system.
There have been steps from the Scottish Government such as commissioning a report that recommended legal representation is extended when sexual history is brought up in trial. However, there are still areas this does not cover.
For example, when the police are investigating or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service are deciding whether to prosecute, they can ask for access to medical or phone records.
The Government must listen to Rape Crisis’s call and begin the process of introducing such support to improve survivors’ experience of the justice system.
As the phrase goes, knowledge is power, but it is more than that.
Knowledge can allow people to reclaim their agency which can, but should not, be robbed from them under such systems.