College Campus Reporting Options for Sexual Violence
Callisto is a technology-based non-profit organization specifically designed by survivors of sexual assault to support survivors. It is designed to report their experience and seek outside help from their university, in case they do not feel safe reporting their assault to campus authorities. They partner with college campus support groups and individual students to help victims of sexual assault report their experience in an informative and sensitive way that avoids individuals from experiencing victim-blaming. Callisto is a service open to everyone, including those who do not attend university; however, it developed in the context of University students’ participation.
Location: United States
About the Wise Practice
Founded in 2011 as Sexual Health Innovation (SHI), Jess Ladd created what is now known as Callisto in an effort to make reporting systems for sexual violence more accessible and easy to navigate. This non-profit organization offers an online service with three main features: matching, recording, and resource provision. The Matching System helps to identify repeat offenders who are identified upon 2+ reports. Victims are then contacted by a personal Legal Options Counselor to discuss the next steps. Individuals can record their experiences via Callisto’s program. The resources Callisto provides include options to get in touch with psychological and legal counseling, assistance to prepare for interviews with police officers, and provide information on how to navigate reporting on campus if that is the decided course of action.
Callisto is a service that recognizes the importance of individual rights and choices when it comes to reporting incidents of assault. The university campuses often do not effectively support students who come forward as victims of sexual assault and often fail to provide them with a free, safe, confidential, and alternative reporting method. The non-profit has a designated full-time staff member deemed the Assistant Director of Campus Engagement and hires and partners with software engineers to stay up-to-date on the latest and most secure reporting technologies related to the website’s requirements. Its most unique feature is its matching program because according to reports by Callisto, offenders can commit sexual assaults up to 6 times during their university education.
Goal 1: Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and harassment against women and girls in private and public spaces, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation (NUA 13c, 39; SDG 5.2; CEDAW article 6).
Callisto has a CEO and board of directors composed of professors at Yale Law School, directors of Planned Parenthood, and other notable institutions who meet annually to review the efficacy of its services. In order to determine whether their technology is effective, they review feedback from users of their service and adjust their programs accordingly.
The founder, Jess Ladd, gave a TED talk in 2016 and since then, this platform has expanded to receive funding from large multinational corporations including Google. Callisto has been featured in both Forbes magazine and Late Night with Seth Rogen. In 2018, Callisto reported it had helped survivors from over 12 college campuses in the United States, including Pomona College, Claremont Mckenna University, and Stanford University. It is affiliated with colleges on both coasts of the United States, from California to Florida. Its goal by the end of 2021 is to collaborate with 40 campuses. Due to confidentiality reasons, Callisto does not publish the number of reports it receives or any disaggregated data by age, ethnicity, or gender identity.
The most important values of Callisto include respect, privacy, and individual autonomy. Regardless of an individual’s choices of action, Callisto has learned that it is there to support and advise, not direct and take over. Most notably, this service was created by victims of sexual assault to serve other victims; therefore, it is well-informed and sensitive to lived experience.
Resources and More Information
Published: May 31, 2021