Florida A&M University is using an app called Callisto in an effort to make the campus safer for victims of sexual assault.
Callisto’s mission is to create technology that combats sexual assault, supports survivors and advances justice. Survivors will be able to report anonymously without the worries of their information being shared with the university.
“I am an advocate for survivors and what makes this exciting for me is to promote a service on campus that will heal, empower and educate individuals on a pressuring issue that should be talked about,” Janelle Edge, the chief diversity officer for FAMU’s Student Government Association, said.
Edge said she would see stories on Twitter and other social media and find it devastating to hear individuals’ stories and feel their stories haven’t been heard. She encourages students to educate themselves on sexual assault and to have conversations with their friend groups to ensure they are creating a safe space for this topic.
Bringing Callisto to FAMU was an initiative of SG’A’s Department of Diversity and Inclusion. Edge and fellow student Jaelyn Guyton worked to get in contact with Callisto to ensure it was brought to campus. Edge is also an intern with Callisto and has created events to promote the program.
“SGA wanted to bring this to campus honestly because we’re tired of seeing abusers get away with no consequences at all,” said Guyton. “It is past due the time to protect Black women on campus from predators and this was a way we could do it in a fast and easy way.”
Callisto is in effect on campus and available for all FAMU students to use. Campus-wide students will be able to create an account and receive the help that they need and in their own time get the justice they deserve.
Survivors will have access to a downloadable record form where they can capture the details of the assault. This form is stored on Callisto’s computers for personal access in the case of Callisto wanting to file a report. Survivors can also create an encrypted match entry recording the perpetrator’s information (i.e social media, email, etc.) so that a match could be detected.
Once a match is detected, a Callisto legal options counselor will contact them with options for the next steps. Callisto’s legal options counselors help survivors navigate their legal and non-legal options, free for up to 10 hours. Be sure to follow Callisto on Instagram @Callisto for more information on sexual assault.
The majority of sexual assaults are not reported. Often this is because individuals who don’t report go through the emotions of fear of not being believed, retaliation by the perpetrator, or their voices simply not being heard. Callisto gives survivors a platform for their voices to be heard and educate those on sexual assault. The imperative thing is ensuring the survivor knows that their next step is theirs to make.
With this app, students are able to get direct contact with resources they normally would’ve been aware of. Access to Title IX, lawyers for legal advice, shelters, and centers that will do free rape/STD kits for victims in need. All of these resources are now streamlined through one app. The other function is that there is now a digital footprint and identification of assailants that can be matched by other victims making it easier to build a profile for law enforcement.