According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college; over 90 percent of those victims don’t report their assault.
Capptivation’s Reach Out – College Edition, a free smartphone app, aims to help sexual assault victims in college easily access resources and information available to them in their college or community.
This includes easier access to medical, administrative and law enforcement personnel.
“We saw that a lot of college campuses have resources that [sexual assault victims] could go to. It’s just impossible to look at it separately and decide what to do first,” Sarah Zandi, one of the apps founders, said. “[The app] is to consolidate [the information] so they don’t have to go look for it. Something happened to [the student] that they didn’t ask for, obviously, and now they have the additional burden of how to deal with the aftermath. We want to remove that burden for them,”
After graduating from different colleges in 2014, five friends decided to combat sexual assault by giving their peers resources and information, rather than victims having to seek it out from administrators.
“When we graduated, we realized that our perspectives were unique and the idea that we had would be relatable to us and to kids across the country,” said Zach Csillag, one of the apps founders. “We knew it was important for everyone to have access to this information.”
Reach Out – College Edition provides students with their college campus’ and community resources as well as information on school policies regarding sexual assault.
The developers provide a starting point for college administrators to then input the resources and information that student would need.
A college’s administrators are able to log into the app’s software and edit information, keep the information up to date and add anything they think students need to know about dealing with sexual assault.
Students are then able to access the information whenever and wherever they want, all while retaining anonymity.
“We wanted to make sure [the information] is always there for a student if they ever need it but [we] also wanted it to be private and anonymous because it is a sensitive matter,” said Csillag, “but we also wanted to try to empower the students with the information.”
Capptivation’s next goal is to bring the app to high school students across the country. Their goal is to educate them with information, resources and support in addition to educating them on behavior, boundaries and what is expected of them as they move onto college.
“In terms of changing the culture and making a difference, we have to target the younger population,” said Csillag. “They are the ones that are going to continue to feed into college campuses.”
Over 3,500 schools, including Cal State Long Beach, have already teamed up with Capptivation in order to provide this app for their students. The app is available for free across the country to participating schools.
Students can download the app and search their school. Once selected, they can anonymously enter their information and look up any information they want.