Sexual Assault Awareness Month: New app to record sexual assault testimonies for later evidence

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The recently created I’ve-Been-Violated app founded by the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (ISCE) aims to allow sexual assault survivors to record evidence of their assault in a double-encrypted technology that is kept unseen until they are ready to come forward to the authorities.

“The goal of this free app is to act as a tool for the 85 percent of sexual assault victims who do not wish to report the incident right away,” said Michael Lisseck, executive director of the ISCE. Since 2015, the organization has worked to address the issues of consent and sexual assault.

The app asks survivors to record a video after an assault that captures their appearance and their account of what happened, geo-codes and time-stamps that video, then encrypts it and sends it to offline storage. Once it is stored, it cannot be tampered with. When the survivor is ready, the video is “available to use as contemporaneous evidence,” according to the app’s website.

Lisseck said the app helps to avoid a second traumatization by relieving the survivor of having to recount the incident again at a later time. Lisseck encourages anyone who downloads the app to register it right away so that it may be readily available if needed.

The app has been criticized for its blunt name, and fears have been raised that it may perpetuate the doubting of survivor accounts and credibility. Lisseck counter-argues that police have to do their job, and that the app is there because sexual assault happens.

“This app is not designed to prevent sexual assault,” Lisseck said. “We are working on terms of ‘It happens.’ The name of the app is deliberately blunt. The people that like to talk about this may not like the name, but we don’t care. It’s not for them. It’s for the victims. They need to know what tools to go reaching for.”

The ISCE wishes to partner with universities across the country in order to offer customized campus versions of the app. This would give students in a specific area access to local crisis centers, hospitals and other local information through the app. The ISCE is currently in active discussions with over 100 universities.

The I’ve-Been-Violated app is part of the We-Consent website, which offers three other apps specifically geared toward evoking discussion among teenagers and young adults. These include the We-Consent, What-About-No and the Party-Pass apps.

Lisseck hopes that these apps can be continuous tools in the education against sexual assault, and that they spark conversation between peers in order to change “the context in which behavior occurs.”

Paola Fernandez

Paola is a senior studying Journalism and Italian. She loves reading a good book, going to concerts and traveling anywhere she can.

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