A recent episode of The Business of Giving featured Tracy DeTomasi, Callisto’s dynamic CEO. She shed light on her organization’s unwavering commitment to combating the escalating sexual assault rates on college campuses. In addition to revealing Callisto’s innovative technological strategies, DeTomasi also highlighted their empathetic survivor support mechanisms. She stated, “Through Callisto, survivors can determine if someone else has also been victimized by the same perpetrator. This can happen without survivors having to publicly disclose their identities, ensuring their safety and comfort.”
Rising to the Challenges of a Post-Pandemic Surge in Sexual Assault
Alarmingly, the lifting of pandemic restrictions has triggered an upswing in sexual assault incidents on campuses, a period DeTomasi refers to as the Double Red Zone. This rise in assault cases stems from the unrestricted freedom students regained after prolonged lockdowns, which unfortunately amplified sexual assault risks. Expressing her concerns, DeTomasi explained, “In the excitement of newfound freedoms, students often overlooked the warnings about sexual assault risks. The surge in assault cases during the first postpandemic academic year is a testament to this.”
The Role of Strategic Partnerships and Awareness Initiatives
In response to this unsettling increase, Callisto has intensified its focus on forging strategic alliances with universities, corporations, and organizations. The goal is to broaden their impact and offer their technology, free of charge, to anyone possessing a .edu account by October 2023. This accessibility will streamline the perpetrator accountability process and ensure the safe connection of survivors. DeTomasi emphasized, “The collective voice of survivors has proved its power during the Me Too Movement. It has shown that when survivors unite, they can hold perpetrators accountable and also find individual healing.”
Callisto’s Empathetic Workplace Culture and Vision for Change
DeTomasi leads a remote, supportive team at Callisto, informed by her unique trauma-sensitive leadership style. Recognizing the emotional intensity of their work, she advocates for individual and organizational self-care, emphasizing, “It is crucial to ensure each employee receives organizational care and is encouraged to take time off when needed.” Beyond fostering a supportive internal culture, DeTomasi stresses the urgent need for society-wide attitudinal shifts regarding violence against women, stating, “We must scrutinize our cultural narratives, arts, and conversations, ensuring they do not perpetuate harm.”
DeTomasi shared her unwavering belief in the transformative power of Callisto’s technological interventions for survivors of sexual assault. Despite the enormity of the challenge, she optimistically asserted, “I am confident that Callisto’s technology has the potential to significantly reshape the landscape of survivor support.” This outlook, coupled with Callisto’s strategic and empathetic efforts, offers a beacon of hope in the quest to tackle a deeply entrenched societal issue.
Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach to Nonprofit Leaders. His Book, The Business of Giving: New Best Practices for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders in an Uncertain World, is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.