I was reading this post on Feministing the other day that linked to this news piece on a new site for reporting sexual assault on campuses.

The site aims to provide a “more empowering, transparent, and confidential reporting experience” for survivors, and additionally, give schools better data and facilitate the identification of repeat assailants. The initiative was first announced at the White House Data Jam on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault. The site is not yet up-and-running, so for now the organization is just working on communicating how the site WILL work.

Here is their description:

Callisto allows sexual assault survivors to complete an incident report online, receive a clear explanation of their reporting options, and then either directly submit the report to their chosen authority or save it as a time-stamped record. Survivors saving a record can log back in at any time to officially report their assault or can choose to have their report automatically submitted to the authorities if someone else reports the same assailant.

Schools implementing Callisto will be able to view: the aggregate number of records stored in their system, the aggregate number of unique sexual assault survivors and assailants, the percentage of those records that have been officially reported, and trends in assault and reporting over time. Schools will also be able to view anonymous responses to questions such as “is there anything you think your school could have done to prevent this from happening?” If a student decides to officially report his or her assault to school administrators, school administrators will be able to log on and view the data that the student has elected to share with them.

Technically, Callisto is an “information escrow”—a third party system that stores information on someone’s behalf and only releases it on pre-agreed-upon conditions. Callisto will first be implemented in colleges and could later be applied to workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault in the military.

In light of our discussion on media hactivism, open source work, etc, I’m eager to here others’ thoughts on this site. It does not employ any radical web methods, per se, but it seems like it is almost seeking to apply the internet notion of open-source to the very real experience of sexual assault, by making a shunned experience into one that is acknowledged.


About eliciasepstein

Documentarian; maker. Southern California.

2 responses »

  1. laureljaclyn says:

    This is so cool. I think it’s a really great alternative resource for survivors, especially considering how much colleges have a stake in keeping he reporting numbers down.

  2. haircomestrouble says:

    One of the biggest problems about knowing the actual prevalence of sexual assault cases has been that many victims don’t report it, for a variety of reasons. It seems that this would be a great system for getting a more realistic count of the numbers of assaults. And from that information, as with any big data collection, patterns will emerge that may help to mitigate the incidents by allowing the schools to develop more realistic strategies to prevent those occurrences, and when unable, to provide better assistance afterwards.

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