A new system called Callisto, developed by a sexual assault survivor, allows victims to report assaults online in a setting of their choosing, providing them with more privacy, security, and control over the report. This system, which is currently being piloted at two colleges, could be incredibly effective in preventing further sexual assaults from occurring and in catching repeat offenders.
What is Callisto and How Does it Help Deter Repeat Sexual Assault Offenders?
Jessica Ladd, an infectious disease epidemiologist, created Callisto after speaking with several survivors and drawing on her own experience as a sexual assault victim. Reporting an assault to police or campus administrators can be extremely traumatic and often leaves victims feeling re-victimized. Yet, when someone doesn’t report their assault, it can leave them with a sense of guilt as they wonder if the offender who assaulted them could go on to victimize another person.
A Deterrent To Sexual Assault
Callisto is a new type of software which will encrypt and timestamp a report of an assault which can be entered anywhere the victim feels safest. There is no need for a person to go to campus security if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. The other portion of the software that could prove to be extremely beneficial is its matching system. When an individual enters a report, they can choose to send it to the school or just simply enter it into the Callisto matching system. Callisto will then use a form of escrow, similar to the type used in a real estate transaction, and will only send the report to the school if another victim enters a report of assault by the same assailant. The school can then notify both victims. Ladd states, “Knowing that you weren’t the only one changes everything.” She also comments on the fact that this could potentially prevent many future attacks from occurring based on the statistic that 90% of assaults are committed by repeat offenders. She stated, “We’re creating a real deterrent to assault for perhaps the first time.”
Sexual Assault Crimes On Campus And The Alarming Statistics
Sexual assault on college campuses has become a controversial issue in the news in recent months. Scandals at several universities and colleges have caused individuals to look closer at how reports of assault are handled, and why so many victims have stated that they have not reported their assault. Some reports have indicated that as many as 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their college education. These reports have spurred action to bring awareness to the issue by advocacy groups, celebrities such as Lady Gaga (who sang ‘Til It Happens to You’), and Hollywood (which recently released a documentary on sexual assault on college campuses entitled ‘The Hunting Ground’).
Callisto – A Wonderful Alternative To Reporting Assault In Person
One of our sexual assault attorneys, Brian Kent, welcomed this new development with the comment: “Reporting an assault can be a traumatic and emotional event for a victim. With a tremendously high number of sexual assaults going unreported, it is clear that more support needs to be given to victims. This system offers a wonderful alternative to reporting an assault in person and puts the control back into the hands of the survivor.”