Callisto: Behind the Scenes

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TORCH PHOTO/SPENCER CLINTON

Chyna Inez Davis, Staff Writer

St. John’s students gathered in Marillac Hall, room 425 last Thursday, Oct. 26 to meet Callisto CEO Jess Ladd and hear about Callisto Campus, a sexual assault reporting system the University has recently implemented.

The St. John’s SOAR (Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness and Response) Office hosted and moderated the event. Hannah Artiles-Stravers, director of SOAR, began with her hopes for students to learn more about Callisto, the relatively new sexual assault program.

“We’ve been working with Callisto,” Stravers said. “We’re one of their schools in the Northeast.”

In addition to our partnership with Callisto, Ladd agreed to speak at the University. Originally from San Francisco, Ladd was inspired to create Callisto following her own experience with sexual assault as a sophomore at Pomona College, where she studied public policy and human sexuality.

“Callisto, for me when we first created it, was less about increasing reporting,” Ladd said. “It’s more about helping empower survivors make the choice that’s right for them.”

As mentioned in the Torch’s profile on the system, Callisto’s reporting system was developed with trauma experts and survivors so Callisto could offer a survivor-centered and trauma-informed process for reporting and documenting sexual assault.

 

Ladd provided an overview of St. John’s Callisto website after admitting she waited before filing a report against her assailant, who was a repeat offender. She shared resources like “Helping a Friend,” to discuss what to do when someone goes through a traumatic experience, while also maintaining good health in the process.

Callisto wants to make their system accommodating and more helpful in the coming years, according to Ladd. She provided an example from Callisto’s “Match Feature.”

“We use a Facebook URL [with intent to find the] perpetrator,” Ladd said, “It is unique. Over time are there other things that students would likely know about their assailant.”

Callisto looks forward to incorporating other reporting features through applications like Instagram or by e-mail address and phone numbers to help with identification.

Stravers explains partnering with universities like St. John’s, is a new initiative for the organization.

“We’re excited to be rounding out our prevention and response services at St. John’s through the SOAR office,” Stravers said.