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Stanford University will soon begin a three-year pilot of sexual assault tracking program Callisto.
The pilot was announced Wednesday in a Stanford news release published in response to a new report on sexual assault initiatives at some U.S. colleges.
“The system is now being prepared, and more details will be available in May when it is ready for Stanford students to begin using on a three-year pilot basis,” the release said.
The Callisto web app allows people to privately report a sexual assault. The identity of Callisto users is encrypted until they choose to share a sexual assault report, but Callisto shares aggregate data with universities it works with so they can better understand trends on campus.
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This approach is taken because stopping repeat offenders could mean stopping the majority of sexual assault. Surveys have found that 90 percent of sexual assault is committed by 10 percent of men, and that rapists commit sexual assault roughly six times.
For much of the past year, Stanford University has been near the center of the conversation about sexual assault on college campuses in the United States.
In 2015, former Stanford student Brock Turner was accused of sexual assault. A year later, Turner was found guilty on three felony counts, including rape of an intoxicated women. He was sentenced to only six months in prison. Judge Aaron Persky ruled that more time behind bars would have had a “severe impact on him.” Turner was out of jail in three months.
At his sentencing, Turner’s victim read a letter that would become one of the most shared pieces of content on the internet in 2016.
Following the trial, amid calls for better safety and sexual assault enforcement at Stanford, students requested the use of software like Callisto. Both the Stanford Graduate Student Council and Associated Students of Stanford University voted to approve a one-year Callisto pilot program last fall.
Beyond the university, partially in response to the sentencing, last fall California Governor Jerry Brown signed laws for tougher sentencing in rape cases, including mandatory state prison time. (Turner was allowed to complete his sentence in Santa Clara County Jail.)
Callisto is available for students at colleges in California, Iowa, and New York and is only adopted at colleges where the company is able to work with school administrative officials. Undergraduate and graduate students at the university officially requested a one-year Callisto pilot program in student government votes last fall.
Formerly known as Sexual Health Innovations, Callisto was launched during an event held at the White House in 2014. Callisto is an open source project and is available to download on GitHub.
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