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The Daily Tar Heel

Students begin to develop an app for reporting sexual assault

Sophomore Christopher Reeder said he came up with the idea for the app after the documentary “The Hunting Ground” came out in 2015 and he began to ask himself how he could help his fellow students.

Reeder, along with sophomore Gaby Alemán, hope to combat sexual assault by having a place where students can record places they were sexually assaulted. Through the app, students will be able to report sexual assault incidents to the University or the police.

“We’re very interested in the idea of data storytelling,” he said. “The point of the app is that users can anonymously document where sexual assaults are occurring in addition to publicly mapping it.”

“So what a user can do is if they have suffered from sexual assault or know somebody who has, they can document it on the app and essentially there’s a coloring system that tells the degree of how many sexual assaults have been reported in a certain area so the user can understand safe versus not safe areas.”

Reeder said they are working to get funding and find people who can help them develop the app. He said his goal is to have the app completed anywhere from 18 months to two years from now.

Alemán said even after UNC added a new sexual misconduct policy in August 2014, she thought there was still more that could be done.

“So there’s the support and then the report part of it, because they can be two very separate things, and we want to make this not only visible to people on campus, but also to show support and to give people options if they need them, and also to report if that’s what they want to do,” she said.

Sophomore Javi Chacon said he thinks the app is a good idea but would be concerned with the practicality of it.

“I haven’t read up on the distribution of where sexual assaults happen on campus,” he said. “However, I imagine a lot of them happen in places like houses, dorms and apartments, so I don’t know how you avoid places where sexual assault happens, because it can happen just about anywhere.”

Junior Tristan Bavol said he thinks the people designing the app should be wary of the potential for abuse.

“Let’s say someone doesn’t like a restaurant somewhere — they could anonymously report that an assault had happened there,” he said. “However, the flip side of that is I hope that wouldn’t happen and that it could be used as a tool to help people with those sorts of issues.”

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