In hindsight, Capptivation’s origin story is somewhat unexpected: in the fall of 2014, four recent college graduates sat around a suburban kitchen table playing Settlers of Catan and turned the conversation to campus sexual assault. California had launched its “Yes means yes” laws in September of that year, shifting the tide from the “No means no” mentality that had guided sexual assault policy for decades. The statistics that one in four women and one in sixteen men on a college campus would be sexually assaulted before graduating was, to put it mildly, staggering.
It is a fact that the cost of college tuition for a young student should not implicitly include, on top of room and board and a meal plan, a significant chance of being sexually assaulted. And, to be clear, that is not the only price that survivors pay—the aftermath of sexual misconduct can be life altering. It is true that many colleges have made great strides in putting resources in place to help survivors in the aftermath of an assault, and in educating freshman on preventative strategies to curb the epidemic. But the reality remains that many survivors do not know where to turn when they most need help, and feel that they are without choices—or alternatively, faced with far too many choices.
How, the group asked themselves, can technology be utilized to address the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses in the United States? What kind of a resource would be most beneficial to a college student who has been assaulted? And by starting to answer these questions with technologically innovative solutions, the four of them geared their post-graduation trajectories towards promoting a future devoid of rape culture.
Two years later, Capptivation has introduced Reach Out in the iPhone App Store. We still work out of that same suburban house in a makeshift office, but our small company has grown to include a team of programmers hailing from Philadelphia and Barbados. Racquel Giner is the company’s chief on-site programmer. Jack Zandi and Billy Sadik-Khan are responsible for the app’s data maintenance.Zach Csillag has become the company’s primary marketing manager. And most recently, Sarah Zandi has joined the team as content editor, and feminist-at-large.
This company has devoted itself to promoting college campus environments that are safe for all students, regardless of race, sexual or gender orientation, economic status, or citizenship. Reach Out helps schools comply with Title IX standards not so that they can maintain their status in the educational pecking order, but so that a young person can graduate from college never having been subjected to a sexual assault.