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App provides students with resources for sexual assault

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Dealing with sexual assault alone is terrifying. But you don’t have to.

There are numerous resources for survivors of sexual assault. Reach Out Editions is an app developed by Capptivation that aggregates them all. It is available for free on Android and iOS devices.

Reach Out Editions began when four recent college graduates sat together playing a board game. Rolling Stone’s infamous University of Virginia article on campus rape served as a jumping off point as the friends discussed their experiences and what they knew about sexual assault.

“We talked about what we did know and what we didn’t know. We realized we didn’t have all the information we should have,” said Billy Sadik-Khan, one of the partners at Capptivation.

The group concluded that resources for sexual assault vary greatly and there’s no one-stop shop for that information. So they made one.

Reach Out Editions launched last summer. Sadik-Khan said that it took a year and a half to figure out what would be useful for students.

“We didn’t want to release the app unless we could present it as a useful tool,” said Sadik-Khan. “We could have limited it to one county or one school, but that’s not different than what schools are doing themselves.”

Since its release, the app now includes more than 40,000 resources for 2,500 schools. Reach Out Editions focuses on providing sexual assault survivors in college with resources.

“Our philosophy is if we can get one more person to report sexual assault, then it’s a success.”

In order to compile all of the resources, Sadik-Khan and the three other founders of Capptivation met with legislators, called crisis centers and conducted research about sexual assault. The group also called Title IX coordinators across the nation to gather specific information for universities.

Once downloaded, the app allows users to choose a school from a list. The app then displays a list of localized resources.

For instance, students at USF St. Petersburg are shown the services that the St. Petersburg community and the school provide. A green dot next to a listed resource indicates whether the resource is open at the moment.

While researching sexual assault on college campuses, Sadik-Khan found that the number one reason that sexual assault survivors don’t file reports is because they don’t think what happened to them is important enough to warrant further action.

Because of that, Capptivation’s app lists each school’s definition of sexual misconduct and what should be reported. Under its “Prevention/Education” tab, the app links directly to USF’s official documentation defining sexual harassment.

“Our goal is to increase the reporting rate of survivors of sexual assault on college campuses,” said Sadik-Khan. “Our philosophy is if we can get one more person to report sexual assault, then it’s a success.”

Mandy Hines works as the victim advocate for USFSP. She’s available 24/7 and is one of the resources that Reach Out Editions points out to students.

She said she’s happy that students have a way to learn about what constitutes sexual assault and what to do after it happens.

“It’s exciting and definitely needed for students on campus,” said Hines.

Hines said that students are welcome to call or text her anytime for support. Any interaction with her is completely confidential. Her job is to offer students their options so that they can make a comfortable decision.

The reaction to the app has been positive, said Sadik-Khan. So positive that the four founders of Capptivation have had to focus on Reach Out Editions as something more than the side project they originally intended for it to be.

“Coming out of college, we were thinking about doing others things primarily and this on the side as we sought out careers,” said Sadik-Khan. “The response was much more than we expected and it got us more interested.”

Capptivation is still working on expanding the service and has begun to add international universities and high schools to its database.

“Some schools do a great job of providing this information and that’s the best case scenario. There are plenty of schools where the information isn’t available online,” said Sadik-Khan.

Reach Out Editions solves that problem.

 

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