Combatting sexual assault on campus
Sexual assault, and more specifically acquaintance rape (AR), is one of the most pressing social issues facing our society. According to the US Department of Justice, 20 percent of women will be victims of AR while they are in college, and 89% of these incidents will involve the use of alcohol. The vast majority of current product solutions that address this problem are targeted at potential victims; encouraging them to take power into their own hands to prevent an assault from happening. This places the responsibility of avoiding being a victim of acquaintance rape in the hands of the victims themselves, making these individuals susceptible to blame in the event that they are unsuccessful in preventing a rape from occurring.
Our team at Carneige Mellon, as part of our capstone project, conceptualized and prototyped a solution targeted at fraternity and sorority events on campus. The initiative was featured on:
Pittsburgh Gazette, ABC News, and Washington Post. Access the project website here for complete details.
The SPOT team used various design thinking approaches for conceptualizing ideas based on primary and secondary research. Interviews ranged from college freshman to Title IX campus officers, and research spanned across sources including the Criminal Justice Department and the White House.
The SPOT App functions as a crowd-sourced feedback system, in which party event guests provide risk managers with information regarding dangerous or unsafe situations. Fraternity and sorority risk managers (the sober designees for the night) collect this information through the app to resolve reported – or “SPOT’d” – issues.