Upright Citizens Brigade and Callisto Partner to Combat Sexual Assault


Shows featuring Rachel Bloom, Chris Redd and Eliza Skinner among others to be held on April 23rd in Los Angeles and April 24th in New York

(NEW YORK, NY)– April 17, 2017– The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre will host two fundraisers during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April) in support of their partnership with Callisto, a nonprofit that creates technology to combat sexual assault by empowering survivors to make the reporting decisions that are right for them.   The fundraisers will be held on Sunday, April 23rd in Los Angeles and on Monday, April 24th in New York.

Fundraising from these events will support Callisto’s efforts to reach more students across the country.  Upright Citizens Brigade will also become the first training center to adopt Callisto’s online reporting and documentation tool, which currently operates on seven college campuses in the United States.  The tool will be available at UCB by summer of 2017.

“The Upright Citizens Brigade continually strives to provide a space where our members are free to develop their comedic voices without fear of sexual violence, harassment or retaliation.  Our partnership with Callisto gives us a unique opportunity to support our students and performers while creating a more equitable culture in comedy,” said Marissa Tunis, UCB’s Director of Support & Counseling.

“We are thrilled to receive the support of Upright Citizens Brigade in our mission to empower survivors of sexual assault,” said Tracey Vitchers, Callisto’s Chief Development Officer.  “UCB’s leadership will be critical in informing our efforts to reach more students, wherever they are, with the means to take control of their reporting and documentation experience.”

The fundraisers, Enthusiastic Consent: A Comedy Show To Stop Perverts, will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 23rd at UCB Sunset at 9:00PM featuring Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Chris Redd (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), Eliza Skinner (writer on The Late Late Show with James Corden), Beth Stelling (Red Oaks, writer on Crashing) and Jenny Yang (Disoriented Comedy, The Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival), among others.  It will be held in New York on Monday, April 24th at UCB Theatre East Village at 9:30PM featuring Shannon O’Neill (Artistic Director of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre NY), Lindsay Calleran (Harold Team, By the Book!), Lydia Hensler (Asssscat 3000), Jackie Jennings (host of School Night at UCB Chelsea), Molly Gaebe (Harold Team, Women and Men), Maritza Montanez (UCBT Living Room: The Next Generation) and Arti Gollapudi (host of LAWL at New Women Space).

All of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to Callisto, which envisions a world where survivors get the support they need, authorities have the information required to take action and sexual violence is deterred from happening in the first place.

To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit:




Callisto is a non-profit that creates technology to combat sexual assault and empower survivors. It provides an online documentation and reporting tool with three options for survivors: to record sexual assault, to report electronically to authorities, and to only report if the perpetrator is identified by another user. For more information, visit: projectcallisto.org


The Upright Citizens Brigade was founded and is currently owned by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. With two theaters in New York, two theaters in Los Angeles — including the newly opened training center and stage on Sunset Boulevard — the UCB continues to offer the best and most innovative improv and sketch comedy every day of the week on both coasts. Named “the most influential name in improv today” –New York Times and “the nucleus of the nation’s alternative comedy scene” –Los Angeles Times, The UCB Theatre is widely recognized as home to today’s funniest actors and writers. Among their esteemed alumni include performers and writers for Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation, Key & Peele, Veep, Broad City, Silicon Valley, New Girl, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Inside Amy Schumer, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, @midnight, The Daily Show, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Wet Hot American Summer, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, The Heat, 21 Jump Street, The Hangover, Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters (2016) and countless other films, commercials and television shows.  Performers who have gained success continue to lend their talents to the theatre and accredited training centers in both New York and Los Angeles.

For audiences not in NY/LA, UCB Comedy is the online home for Sketch, Original Series, & Short Films from the Upright Citizens Brigade. From sketch and experimental comedy to short films and narrative series to comedy podcasts, UCB Comedy is a one-stop shop for short and long form comedy video, audio, and custom branded digital entertainment.

For more information, visit: ucbtheatre.com and ucbcomedy.com


Media Contacts:


Jennifer Sims, 212-901-3944; [email protected]


Anna Kim, 917-818-4264; [email protected]

Callisto Data Not Affected by Cloudbleed

You may have heard about a recent security incident at Cloudflare, a service used by Callisto to improve loading speeds and avoid DDOS attacks. Cloudflare has reached out to us to let us know Callisto websites are not known to have had any private data exposed in the leak.

This is a good time to remember some general Internet security tips:

  • use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass so you can safely store unique random passwords
  • change your passwords on a regular basis
  • if you are not using a tool to create strong random passwords, be aware of people around you and what information they have access to when creating passwords (that is, your cat’s name is probably not a great password)

We care very much about our users’ privacy and security and will continue to proactively monitor this situation. Thank you for trusting Callisto.

Becoming a Callisto Campus: What our current partners think you should know

Is your campus considering partnering with Callisto? Are you interested in learning more about what a Callisto Campus is? We asked some of our current partner schools to share some insights on being a Callisto Campus.

What drew you to Callisto?

In becoming a Callisto Campus, it is important to identify how the platform’s capabilities will best serve your campus community. For some of our partners, it was the survivor-centered, trauma-informed foundation to the approach. For others, it was the possibility of accessing/supporting survivors who the administration felt were not being best served by the current reporting options.

It was clear from the very beginning that the concept of Callisto was created by and for survivors of sexual assault as a legitimate vehicle to increase the reporting of sexual violence on campus….We know the prospect of reporting in person could and does intimidate many students to the point where not reporting becomes a viable option. Having a student write their own narrative, at their own pace, in their own space, and on their own terms seemed like a legitimate alternative.” –Daren Mooko, Associate Dean & Title IX Coordinator, Pomona College

Callisto provides alternate reporting options for survivors in order to help give them more agency over their own story. We know that feeling in control of the reporting/recovery process can help prevent symptoms such as depression or post-traumatic stress for survivors, so we strive to create a safe environment where survivors have the tools to write their own narrative on the road to recovery.

“I originally saw some publicity about Callisto in Fall 2015 and was intrigued by its capabilities and trauma-informed approach. Several colleagues and students sent me information over the course of the year about Callisto so I knew there was other interest as well.” – Tom Hicks, Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator, Coe College

The National Center for Campus Public Safety promotes the benefits of a trauma-informed response to sexual assault by pointing out that this type of approach encourages survivor participation, helps coordinators and investigators gather accurate information, and promotes both agency and fairness. The Not Alone Report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has reinforced the importance of trauma-informed response. Partnering with Callisto shows alignment with the Task Force recommendations, provides survivor support, and improves campus investigations.

What were barriers/gaps in your existing sexual assault response that you felt Callisto could address?

The issue of campus sexual assault is multifaceted, and combating it involves a collaboration of efforts from different angles. Callisto’s capabilities serve each unique campus’s needs in order to reinforce the existing survivor support services. At Pomona, the matching functionality specifically addressed the reluctance of survivors to come forward that Daren Mooko was seeing, and at Central College students spoke to their desire for an online reporting option.

“We were quite intrigued and impressed with the ‘matching’ component to Callisto. I have worked with numerous students who have disclosed an assault to me but do not wish to move forward with a formal case for understandable reasons. One reason, however, they often state for moving forward is their desire for the alleged perpetrator to not attack someone else. The ‘matching’ feature addresses this very common dynamic in a highly creative way.” – Daren Mooko

As a small campus, our campus climate data and Clery numbers are relatively low. What I know, however, is that students are experiencing more unwanted sexual contact than they were reporting to me as Title IX Coordinator. Students said they would like an online option for reporting, and Callisto fits that need well.”  – Peggy Fitch, Vice President for Student Development & Title IX Coordinator, Central College

Each survivor’s journey is different, and Callisto Campuses recognize the need for a survivor-first approach in order to create a safe space for their students.

How does your campus fund Callisto?

We know that Callisto is an investment, and resources need to be allocated for a multitude of programs to support the campus community. Current partners have gone through different channels to secure funding for Callisto, including student government, cross-departmental budget proposals, and applying for grant funding.

“At the end of the academic year Student Senate wanted to address some bigger-picture items with their unspent monies and decided to fund the first year and implementation of Callisto. Knowing there was both social and financial support for Callisto made it easier to us to commit. Ultimately, we adopted Callisto at the will of our students.” – Tom Hicks

We want to ensure that all campuses who want to provide Callisto to their community have the ability to do so, and we do our best to work with potential partners to find a way to support a partnership. As a non-profit, we see ourselves as colleagues in the work, not just a service provider. Our passion for sexual assault prevention and response guides our work as an organization.

What impact have you seen in the community since becoming a Callisto campus? 

The Callisto team works with each of their partners to create personalized success metrics against which to measure the partnership. For some, access to the aggregate data on user trends that Callisto provides helps schools successfully identify patterns and take actionable steps to create a safer campus and a more informed community. For others, like Pomona, increased trust of students in the institution marked the positive impact of adopting Callisto.

Callisto has had a significant positive impact on our campus. The most consistent feedback I receive from students is that while most students don’t have the need to fill out a report, they appreciate the fact that Callisto is there if they should ever need it. This has translated into increased student confidence in the institution that reports of sexual violence are not only taken seriously, they are highly encouraged. This positive impact is difficult to quantify and very easy to detect.” – Daren Mooko

Providing survivor-centered care and alternative reporting options to students contributes to the overall sentiment in the community of support and trust. By showing survivors that the school takes sexual assault seriously, they’re more likely to come forward. By showing perpetrators that the school takes sexual assault seriously, they’ll know that there is a greater chance that they’ll be held accountable for their actions.  

What was the Callisto implementation process like?

The Callisto team works to create a fluid process of implementation with its partners. It’s important to us to ensure that partnering with Callisto does not create a burden on our already busy administrative partners, but rather makes their jobs easier.

“Understanding this is a new platform and Pomona was one of two pilot schools, I knew implementation and launching were potentially difficult processes…What I was not expecting, however, was the flexibility that the staff at Callisto demonstrated with respect to the structure and some functions of the site. The consistent, clear and professional communication with the Callisto staff made the implementation and launch pain-free! This seamless implementation, therefore, allowed us to focus on promotion and how to educate the campus community about this new resource.” –Daren Mooko

“Unlike other software solution implementations I have participated in, Callisto did much of the back-end work which made implementation on Coe’s end very easy.” – Tom Hicks

During the implementation process, the Callisto team works very closely with the Title IX Coordinator to ensure that they know how to download and decrypt reports, have what they need to train student leaders, faculty, and staff on Callisto, and that the IT department is aware of and in support of Callisto’s commitment to privacy and security. By engaging all involved parties early on, we are able to streamline implementation and launch.

What has it been like working with the Callisto team?

Partnering with Callisto is a collaborative endeavor. Our team seeks to create as supportive a partnership as possible so that our partners can continue to focus on prevention, education, and support.

“They are very responsive and seek to make Callisto as good as it can be. I always receive quick and informative responses. They have made it easy to implement and get information out to campus.” –Tom Hicks

“The Callisto team has been fantastic! They have been knowledgeable, patient and helpful as I navigated the process of getting approval here, setting up and launching the website. They are true professionals who care deeply about empowering students and providing institutions with tools needed to serve them well.”  – Peggy Fitch

A Callisto partnership is about serving a whole community, including the administrators who provide support to students every day.

How did you integrate Callisto into the campus community?

Teaching the campus community about Callisto and integrating it into the sexual assault response program is an important part of the partnership. There are many touchpoints in a campus community that provide support to students, and Peggy Fitch at Central College shared their process of implementation on her campus.

“We developed a coordinated communication plan to launch Callisto at Central. As Title IX Coordinator, I introduced the website to residence life staff during their August training using the TED talk by Jessica Ladd and slides provided by the Callisto team. Shortly after this I made presentations to our Wellness Educators and Student Senate so they could help me anticipate questions students might ask and be ambassadors for Callisto. I introduced Callisto to the Student Development Committee of the Board of Trustees at their fall meeting. The week we launched the website I sent emails to students, faculty and staff immediately following an announcement about Callisto at a campus-wide community meeting.  For the next few days the posters and flyers went up around campus and business cards were distributed to staff and faculty in all departments. We also added the Callisto logo to our Title IX posters that list confidential resources and where to report.”  – Peggy Fitch

The Callisto team provides its partners with promotional materials like posters, buttons, and stickers to distribute around campus to help bring awareness to the community as well as sample email and website language. The success of Callisto is directly tied to its impact on each individual campus we partner with. When we partner with campuses, we are joining together to improve the response to sexual assault and show the community that sexual assault is not acceptable.

What has the Callisto team been surprised about?

Throughout the process, there have been some things that stood out to us as unexpected or surprising.

  1. Many students have used Callisto to process through what happened and save details of the assault, but instead of reporting electronically, are choosing to print out a copy of their details and go speak with the Title IX Coordinator in person. This has shown us the value of providing an electronic way to document what happened.
  2. We have been pleasantly surprised by how involved student leaders have been in getting the word out to their peers about Callisto. Whether in be student government, student advocates, or RAs, we’ve found that word-of-mouth is the most valuable way for students to learn about Callisto. This has also been reaffirmed in seeing that the majority of Callisto users are typing the URL directly into their web browser rather clicking on a link that they find on the school site.
  3. As Daren from Pomona mentioned, we have found some really interesting trends in site traffic, specifically around break periods. There is increased usage on the site immediately before and after Fall Break, Semester Break, and Spring Break across campuses.
  4. A gap that we have just begun to bridge is students’ comfort in speaking with other students about sexual assault. Not only are students nervous about saying the wrong thing, they also feel like they don’t have the tools to support others who have experienced sexual assault. We have built out resources specifically to address this and are increasing our site content around helping a friend to better meet this need.

As Krista Kronstein, the Sexual Misconduct Coordinator at Coe College, said, “Each person [at Callisto] seems to really care about the product and making sure that we, as a consumer, feel supported and understand the product well.” The information that we learn is used to help our administrators create a campus culture that rejects sexual assault and believes and supports survivors.

How to not be a jerk to sexual assault survivors

two cartoon figures hugging
Picture by Flickr user Metro Centric

This week, people from all walks of life are sharing their personal stories of sexual assault. Many are sharing publicly for the first time.

For many survivors, the first disclosure is the hardest, and it sets the tone for telling others in the future. Coming forward to name an assailant is never easy. Whether this person is a powerful public figure or not, it takes bravery and courage for a survivor to speak out.

If you find yourself in a position where someone is telling you about a nonconsensual sexual experience, it is imperative to be supportive. Here are 6 simple ways to respond when someone discloses sexual assault.

How to not be a jerk to sexual assault survivors

  1. Believe them.
  2. Don’t press them for details that they pretty obviously don’t want to give. Ask “do you want to tell me more about it?” not “what exactly happened?”
  3. Don’t pressure them into labeling their experience the way you want it to be labeled or taking action you want them to take.
  4. For crying out loud, do not share with anyone else that they are a survivor, who their assailant was, or any details about the assault without their permission. Yes, I know this is hard. Deal with it.
  5. They’re still the same person they were before they told you- treat them like it.
  6. Remember, it’s not about you.

For a more robust list, check out this article in the Guardian.

Want to help create a more supportive world for survivors? Donate to Callisto.

Delivering Aggregate Data: Supporting students while enabling institutions to act

A lot can be learned through site user and usage assessment. With a site like Callisto, where users are entering private and sensitive information, it becomes increasingly important that data is collected, analyzed, and shared carefully and intentionally. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t information to learn from – a lot can still be learned from user and usage patterns and trends.

There are two different types of data – individual data and aggregate data. Individual data, pretty obviously, is data about an individual user. This type of data discloses information about one singular user, and thus does not give privacy or anonymity to the user. Any piece of identifiable information could hypothetically be used to learn more about one single user. For something as sensitive as disclosing sexual assault, it is imperative that user data can not be tied back to a unique user. Aggregate data, however, is data that is combined to show the data of many users; typically used for reporting or analysis.

The other important thing around aggregate or individual data, specifically when the data relates to information about incidents of sexual assault, is around mandated response upon disclosure. If the school were able to tie an assault to an individual, whether it be a perpetrator or a survivor, they could be required to take prompt action under Title IX. With aggregate data, the school is able to identify trends and patterns without the obligation to take action.

Why is this important to Callisto? Aggregate data collection is extremely important to Callisto. From it we gather a few different types of information which have helped our campuses learn about their students, support survivors, and tailor their education and prevention work. This information includes the following:

  1. ASSAULT RATES: We collect information about how many students have created private records but chosen not to report, how many students have entered perpetrator identities into the matching system, and how many students have created accounts. These numbers are not available from any other form of reporting, because these relate to assaults that students are choosing to not report. We are able to give campuses a much greater depth of understanding around rates of sexual assault than only through reporting numbers.
  2. CALLISTO USERS: We ask students their class standing and their gender, with the knowledge that anonymous demographic data will be given to their school. Schools can also opt to have additional demographic questions included. The same questions are asked in regards to the perpetrator. Victimization and perpetration trends are nearly impossible to assess with reporting numbers averaging around 10%. Callisto can increase the school’s awareness of who is involved in sexual assaults.
  3. INCIDENT TRENDS: We collect anonymized data from Callisto’s multiple choice questions about when the assault happened, where it happened, who was involved, and what happened. We never provide information that could identify any individual student; we remain very serious about the privacy and safety of our users. However, through aggregate data reports, we are able to provide schools with valuable information like the percentage of assaults that included alcohol/drugs use and how students are identifying the non-consensual nature of incidents.
  4. USAGE PATTERNS: We collect information about what time, day, and week in the year students are accessing Callisto so that we can match this information up with a school’s academic calendar to better understand trends of when students need to access resources and have the ability to intentionally target education, prevention, and support services. We are able to know not only when students are reporting assaults, but also when they want to learn about support services, when they’re creating accounts, and when they’re accessing sections of the site with information about supporting friends. All of this information can help a school improve pre-existing on-campus efforts as well as develop new programs and prevention efforts.
  5. ASSESSMENT: We use Callisto site data to better understand how students use Callisto, when they leave the site, how long they stay on the site, what features they use  most, and other trends of their usage. While providing data to campuses is extremely important, so is our ability to improve Callisto to best meet the needs of the students it is serving.

What does Callisto do with data? Callisto compiles analyzed data reports and delivers them to their respective schools on a semi-annual basis so that schools can learn about assault rates on campus, how many people are using Callisto, when and how students are using Callisto, and victimization and perpetration trends. Because data collected by Callisto is always aggregated and anonymized, schools will never receive information that can be used to identify an individual user. By using a third-party platform like Callisto, schools are able to use data to their benefit while remaining in compliance with Clery reporting and FERPA regulations.

Data delivered to the schools is owned by the schools. Callisto aggregates data across schools to learn about nation-wide trends and patterns, but does not have ownership over individual school data. Callisto hopes to continue to provide research- and data-driven tools, but will not share individual school data without permission

What does the future hold? As Callisto continues to grow, we will be able to collect more and more aggregate data. This data will show national trends of when students are most likely to access resources around sexual assault, and can be matched up with days of the week, holidays, and other events that might impact the student experience. The data will also show the rate of students who want to process an assault but are still hesitant to report, and can help schools get a more accurate picture of the sexual assault climate.  Schools will have the ability to better target campus programming and to continue working to eliminate barriers to reporting.

Callisto will continue to help schools tailor their education, response, and prevention work on campus by providing robust aggregate data. As the reach of Callisto expands, so will the message that committing sexual assault holds serious repercussions both on campus and off. Callisto fights back against a society where only 1% of perpetrators is held accountable and provides a real deterrent for committing sexual assault.

The Benefits of Writing it Down: giving survivors a place to record their story

Before we started to build Callisto, we held focus groups with college sexual assault survivors to try to understand the range of experiences that students faced post-assault. What we found was unsurprising – everyone’s experience was vastly different. Several themes emerged however, and below we summarize insights from our research that informed the design of Callisto’s recording feature, which we call “Write it Down”.

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“Write it Down” provides a space for students to save a timestamped record of their assault, after which they can: simply save it for themselves; come back later to edit; view or download as a PDF; report their record to their school; or opt into the Matching System.

We quickly realized that giving students the ability to preserve a record, regardless of their decision to report, had benefits above and beyond simply being able to report online, for the following reasons:

1. Survivors need information and options for reporting – on their OWN time.

We asked survivors – “What were the most important or influential time periods after your assault?” For some it was the moments immediately after, for others it was a month or two later, and for others it was a year or more after. For many, this influential time was related to a moment of realization – the moment they realized that something very wrong had occurred. The moment of realization tended to be prompted by something external, such as someone else disclosing an assault, seeing signs or posters on campus, or telling someone new about what happened. We know from academic research on post-trauma disclosure that being interviewed early on increases memory retrieval, consistency of accounts, recall of new information and makes memories less susceptible to post-event information biases. So we created a way for student survivors to confidentially record their assault online immediately after the assault occurred, or whenever they are ready. (And, in the privacy of their own space – see our previous post about why we intentionally made Callisto a website instead of an app.)

2. Writing about trauma contributes to healing and positive health outcomes.

Many of our focus group participants found it therapeutic to write about their experience of being assaulted, either through literal or creative expression. Survivors told us they wrote newspaper articles, journaled, or wrote letters to their assailants that they’d never send. The American Psychological Association acknowledges there may be health benefits to writing about negative or traumatic experiences, including strengthening the immune system and reducing stress. This heavily informed the way we developed the “Write it Down” experience; some questions in “Write it Down” are multiple choice, but survivors always have the option to add free response details as well (and there are no character limits). For example, Callisto asks students to identify where the assault occurred on a campus map, but they are also given the option to describe where it happened in their own words, and given examples of the type of information that could be helpful in an investigation.

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3. Survivors often wait months to report, and don’t know that promptly saving a record can help if they may want to report in the future.

Callisto’s “Write it Down” feature can be thought of as a dated diary entry a survivor might write post-assault. We know diary entries can be used to support survivors’ stories, and Callisto’s recording feature is designed to improve the likelihood that survivors will be believed, if they do choose to report. One study found that the average time between assault and report was 11 months, during which time evidence may be lost and memories may fade or be questioned for accuracy. In our focus group research, we found that often students decided report only after they heard someone else disclose an assault, especially if it was by the same perpetrator. The option to create a record and just save it in Callisto creates a way to preserve detailed, time-stamped memories without having to make any decisions about reporting. 

4. For many survivors, the downsides of current reporting methods still outweigh the potential benefits.

We found there are many reasons survivors don’t report their assaults, some of the most common being:

  • they didn’t initially consider what happened to be sexual assault,
  • they didn’t want to go through the emotional turmoil,
  • they didn’t know they could, or how to go about it, and
  • they didn’t think they’d be believed or supported.

Those who did report often felt disempowered and confused by the process. Recent results of the Association of American Universities Climate Survey backed up these findings. The survey, which reached over 150,000 students across 27 schools, found that, “A significant percentage of students say they did not report because they ‘…were embarrassed, ashamed or that it would be too emotionally difficult’ or they ‘…did not think anything would be done about it.’” Because so many survivors are worried about not being believed, we wanted to make sure Callisto gives guidance about how to preserve evidence, and what sorts of evidence can be useful to support an investigation (such as emails, text messages or social media interactions, in addition to possible physical evidence).

We designed “Write it Down” to address many of these unmet needs of college survivors.

We modeled the recording feature after the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI), a best practice in law enforcement interviews with survivors. “Write it Down” prompts survivors to recall sensory details about When, Where, What and Who, as opposed to asking chronological questions, since we know that after a trauma, memories may be disordered, fragmented or out of sequence. This research also served as the basis for allowing survivors to edit their record at any time after its initial creation.

Results from our own research, as well as findings from academic studies and campus climate surveys, helped us solidify the benefits that saving a record could provide, that simply submitting a report could not. We plan to continue our research to refine the “Write it Down” experience, and strive to create alternative mechanisms to support and empower college survivors, and improve the climate of campus sexual assault in the US.

To learn more about Callisto, or suggest bringing Callisto to your campus, visit www.ProjectCallisto.org, or contact [email protected].


Callisto: Technology That Isn’t Trendy

In an age where it seems like our cell phones can do pretty much anything for us, it only makes sense that sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response work infiltrates the tech world as well. It seems like every day there is a new app created that is intended to combat sexual assault. Mobile applications are trendy. However, when developing Callisto, it became increasingly clear that a recording and reporting tool like Callisto needed to be a website and not an app. Here are some of the reasons why.

It is unlikely that students will preemptively download an app before an assault with the assumption that they will need it later.

Applications can only be used if they are downloaded onto the phone. Because the moments after an assault are highly traumatic for many survivors, it is not likely that students would find and download the app before recording what happened. Data from the Association of American Universities Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct showed that over 50% of students thought themselves not at all likely to be victims to sexual assault, which means that very few students would preemptively download the app with the expectation of needing to use it at a later date.

Downloading an app means having the icon and name on your phone where others can see it.

Survivors we spoke with during our formative research for Callisto were very cautious about protecting their status as a survivor until they were ready (if ever) to share with others. They were also very protective of their story through privacy locking documents or tearing up what they wrote. The fear of having someone discover this information was amplified by the idea of a mobile app.

Students are more likely to record details of an assault in the privacy of their apartment or dorm room, not out in public.

Through countless interviews with survivors, we discovered that detailing an assault would not be something that they would likely do on a bus, walking around campus, or at an event. Our formative research informed our decision to make Callisto something that would be most easily accessible in the privacy of someone’s own room.

Students need a centralized, easily accessible resource for all information around reporting information and options.

Based on the AAU Survey results, only about 25% of students are knowledgeable about where to make a report about sexual assault or sexual misconduct at their school. The school-specific Callisto site can be linked to directly on any already existing school website where students may go to find resources. This allows for easy navigation from sites students may already visit such as the counseling center, the campus police, or the Dean’s office so that information that may have previously been separate is now in one consistent location. Navigation between websites and phone apps isn’t as seamless as site to site.

Websites can be mobile optimized so that they can easily be used on cell phones and tablets.

Mobile applications are often not able to be used on computers. Callisto is mobile optimized and is easily navigated on all devices. It isn’t required for users to download something on to their phone to use Callisto on their phone. Because Callisto is a mobile-optimized website, it can do everything that a phone app could do along with much more.

None of these reasons are to say that mobile applications are not useful or beneficial. There are many great resources out there that are apps, and we support all of our partners in the work to combat sexual assault. For us, building a website and not an app was an important and intentional decision.

Are you going to be at ACPA or NASPA this March? Come visit Ashley & Kate to learn more about Callisto or go through a demo of the site! Email us at [email protected]