NEW APP SEEKS TO HELP STUDENT SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Screenshot of Reach Out Editions app by Capptivation, Inc.Madeleine Coles

Life Editor

A new smartphone app released by the start-up company Capptivation aims to provide college students with all the resources they need in the event of sexual violence and other traumatic events.

The app is called Reach Out Editions, and it features information for hundreds of schools including high schools, technical schools and four year universities.

When students go to ISU’s page on the app, they’re greeted with a list of buttons called chicklets that direct them to campus resources, medical care, reporting options, prevention/education, advocacy/support, school links, hotlines and ways to get involved.

Jack Zandi, a partner at Capptivation, said he and his friends started working on the app in the fall of 2014.

“We started doing research and going to campuses to figure out how they handled [sexual assault],” Zandi said. “While most schools had information, it was really hidden and difficult to find.”

According to Zandi, the goal of the app is to limit the amount of inconveniences survivors have to deal with after a traumatic event.

“The idea was that if we could remove these inconveniences, [survivors] will find and receive the help they need, and they’ll report their assault,” he said.

The app can direct students to the right information and resources.Screenshot of the ISU page on the Reach Out Editions app by Capptivation, Inc.

It features the contact information for ISU’s Title IX Coordinator, counseling services, Department of Public Safety and Health Services Center.

Zandi said he is constantly checking and rechecking the app’s database to ensure there are as few errors in information as possible. Some schools have a console that allows school administrators to freely update and/or change any of the information in the app, although ISU does not currently have a console.

The app also directs students on what to do if they have been sexually assaulted. It advises them to get to a safe place, preserve the evidence, talk to an advocate, get medical attention, arrange interim measures, report the incident and heal. For each step, the app features information and resources ranging from contact information for the Pocatello Police Department to the number of a national helpline for sexual assault survivors.

According to Zandi, he and the other Capptivation team members read through the sexual misconduct policies of multiple colleges and took out what they deemed to be the most important in addition to gathering information about resources offered by both the college and the community or city.

Zandi said he hopes that by putting this information in app form, it will make it easier for students.

“If you have an app on your phone, the information is always with you,” he said. “And you might never need it, but if you do, it’s right there.”

He added that the app can help more than just survivors of sexual assault. It can raise awareness of the issue and help all students to take notice and be mindful of the issue.

The app is completely free and, according to Zandi, completely anonymous. There’s no way to know what information students are accessing, although the Capptivation team can see how many students are visiting a specific school’s page.

“We don’t want [people] to be using this app,” Zandi said. “Because if you’re using this app it means something terrible happened to you. But we do want you to be prepared.”

The app is available in the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.

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