More than three-fourths of campus assaults go unreported. The frequent underreporting of assaults can have devastating effects—a victim could blame herself; she could not get the therapy or treatment she needs; or the perpetrator could hurt someone else if he is never punished.
However, a recent advance in technology has the potential to improve the way victims can report assaults, leading to more reporting, more treatment and more justice. Enter “Callisto.” Callisto is a website linked to a specific school that allows a student to report an assault after it happens.
If a victim doesn’t want to report the assault to campus or the police immediately, she can put the report in “escrow.” The report is time-stamped, but remains in escrow until another victim files a report against the same perpetrator. If this happens, the original victim is notified so that he or she can determine whether to make the report at that time.
This option is based on the idea of “strength in numbers” and allows a victim to come forward knowing that she is not the only one who has been hurt by a particular perpetrator. This notification can empower a victim to step forward knowing that she is not alone. The time-stamp gives the report credibility even though it was not officially reported until a later time.
Callisto seems like a great idea. Yet, there are still some kinks to be worked out. If a victim keeps his or her report in escrow for too long and never reports it to the authorities or an attorney, the Statute of Limitations could run. This could make the victim lose the rights to any claim she could have against the perpetrator or another responsible party. There has been talk about adding in a feature that would advise a victim of the applicable Statute of Limitations, but this has not yet been incorporated into the website.
Also, since Callisto is still “new,” it is only offered at two college campuses at this time. As the word about Callisto spreads, it will hopefully make its way to more college campuses across the nation. It is important that if you are a victim of an assault, you should contact a crime victims’ attorney as soon as possible. The attorney can keep the information confidential and advise you of your rights before it’s too late.