Thursday, 19 November 2015 21:09 Written by
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According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll recently published, one in five women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted. The White House has declared sex crimes to be an "epidemic" on college campuses. Sure, there are those lit-up call buttons all over campus, but no one uses them and is everyone really able to get to one in an unsafe situation? What college students DO use, is their smartphones.

Stemming from the 2011 "Apps Against Abuse" challenge, there are now several apps available across the country. One of the winners, Circle of 6, works by letting a student download the app and pick six trusted friends to join a "circle". Then, if in an unsafe situation, they can send a pre-written text to those friends with just two clicks. 

For example, sending the message, "Come and get me. I need help getting home safely." will automatically include the sender's GPS location. It also allows the students to not only access their personal contacts, but allows access to national hotlines and emergency numbers as well.

The best part of this app, is that it was created by sexual assault survivors.

Other apps include, Here For You, LiveSafe and OnWatch.

Not all of these tools are apps only. A new site called Callisto, is an online reporting system who's goal is to make the reporting more empowering for survivors. Through Callisto, students can fill out a timestamped record of the incident and then choose between three different options.

First, they can send it directly to their campus Title IX coordinator, who is in charge of student investigations. Second, the student can save it and decide whether to file it later. Finally, and most notably, the student can put the report into “matching,” which will only file the report if someone else reports an assault by the same perpetrator.

This last option may help with the underreporting issue. Callisto is being piloted at Pomona College and the University of San Francisco this year, with plans to expand it further if it’s successful.

While these tools are not a silver bullet of any kind, they do provide students with a tangible tool they previously lacked.

Read 4033 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 April 2016 04:55

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