One in five women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll published this summer, but only 11 percent told police or college authorities.
The reasons for the underreporting vary, but there seem to be four main pitfalls: Victims don’t want to draw attention to themselves or their assailants, don’t know if the incident truly constituted “rape,” are worried they won’t be believed, or don’t know whom to report to.
A new site, Callisto, aims to make it easier for college students to document—and report, if they wish—their sexual assaults. With Callisto, a student can fill out a timestamped record of the incident and then choose between three different next steps.
First, they can send it directly to their campus Title IX coordinator, the point-person for student investigations. The writing process helps, Callisto’s creators believe, because it might reduce the odds that college administrators will handle the matter insensitively.
“Our hope is that ... the Title IX coordinator will be able to have a more nuanced conversation,” said Tracey Vitchers, director of development and operations for Sexual Health Innovations, the nonprofit that designed Callisto. “That way the survivor won't be in a position where they have to tell and tell and retell what happened to them.”