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?

California passes ‘Yes Means Yes’ Law. How will this affect rape culture?

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In a fantastic move towards defining consent in sexual assault cases, California has become the first American state to clearly define when people agree to sex, and when they don’t. 

This law tackles the ambiguities of the original ‘no means no’ standard which made investigations of sexual assault cases difficult.

So what does this mean?

Basically, the law states that a “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent,”  “nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”

This means that ‘affirmative consent’ cannot be given if someone is asleep of incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

This is a fantastic move for lawmakers and enforcement who struggle often in determining positive outcomes for the victims of sexual assault cases, particularly when involving alcohol intoxication.

There is an obvious problem within universities and how they handle rape and sexual assault accusations, and this law seeks to improve their systems by requiring the use of  policies from protecting privacy to training campus officials and providing counseling for victims of sexual assault.

“The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug,” Sen. Kevin de Leon, one of the men in charge of passing the bill, said. “We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”

“Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy.”

Yay California!!

I think this a definite step in the right direction, albeit a small one. If the rest of America and the world can adopt such laws we could really shift the conversation surrounding sexual assault, especially in young people.

What do you think about the ‘Yes Means Yes’ law? Will it make a difference?