Important Invention of the Week: Callisto

Callisto is a the third-party sexual assault reporting system that was designed to be used for universities and colleges.

But what makes it so great? It was created with the input of rape survivors and student activists. It was developed after more than a year of collecting feedback from sexual assault survivors.

Callisto allows a victim to file an incident report online, to “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.”

The system was designed by nonprofit Sexual Health Innovations who have set up a Crowdrise fundraising page to get the Callisto up and running. The project has currently made over $20,000. However, organisers say they need to raise as much as $200,000  to staff and run it adequately.

The Callisto system is designed to maintain privacy and to prevent false reports by allowing victims to choose to have their perpetrator reported to authorities immediately if they had been reported by another user.

The victim would also receive a notification in the event that an additional report is made. But no other individuals or administrators would have access to the database to see whether any single person is listed as either an assailant or victim. 

“We want to be clear: This is by survivors, for survivors and us understanding and having empathy for the trauma that survivors go through after a sexual assault and just how scary the reporting process is,” said Founder and Executive Director of Sexual Health Innovations Jessica Ladd.

“We want to make it very clear to survivors they control who it’s reported to and when,” Ladd said.

I think this is a really awesome move towards in encouraging survivors to report if they’re originally afraid or hesitant of reporting their sexual assault.

Learn more about Callisto here: http://projectcallisto.org/#about

What do you guys think about this system? Will it help?

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Victim-blaming: the betrayal of trust and erosion of justice

Victim-blaming: the betrayal of trust and erosion of justice.

The Problem With Stranger Danger

Did you know that 84 percent of rapes are executed by someone the victim knows?

84 percent.. That means the majority of those who are raped have been done so by a friend, partner, colleague…someone they trust and love.

With only 16 percent of rapes being committed by strangers why do mostly hear about stranger rape?

Is it because we’ve become too desensitised to rape committed by a partner? Or is it the shock factor of ‘stranger rape’ that is more frightening?

Unfortunately, stranger rape in today’s society is far more likely to be seen as the primary type of sexual violence attributed to the perception of rape and sexual assault. With the responsibility partly on our media’s shoulders for the way they report and represent such crimes. The “rapist” narrative perpetuates misconceptions that all sexual assault involves extreme physical force and is mostly committed by strangers unknown to the victim.

Both myths are untrue. And the statistics prove it.

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.

Perpetrators are more likely to target people they know because they know they’re less likely to be reported. And often this is the case. By deliberately refusing to acknowledge or be educated on the realities of rape, by ignoring rape survivors testimonies or belittling their experiences, we’re excusing the act of rape and letting bad people get away with horrific crimes.

If we continue to perpetuate these myths, individuals fail to correctly interpret incidents they observe, with research indicating many young people do not recognise what sexual assault and harassment looks like. And if they don’t recognise what sexual assault really is, how can they stop it if they see it or encounter it?

I recently read a  thought-provoking essay written by Tom Meagher, whose wife was the victim of an utterly horrifying rape and murder in Melbourne, Australia that made headlines in late 2012.

Tom has written a brilliant and brutally honest essay about ‘The Monster Myth’ in rape cases, reminding people that his wife’s rape was a rarity and that most rapists are known and trusted by the victim. I definitely recommend giving it a read, it’s really quite interesting and presents a bleak view of rape culture and consequences for perpetuating such myths.

What are your thoughts on the ‘Monster Myth’? Why do you think we’re so quick to report stranger rape, but less likely to believe someone we know and trust is capable of such a crime?

Read Tom’s essay here: http://whiteribbonblog.com/2014/04/17/the-danger-of-the-monster-myth/