#095 – Learning More About Sexual Assault on Campus: An Interview with Sarayfah Bolling of Callisto

Callisto is an organization whose mission is to provide resources and to empower survivors of sexual assault. Sarayfah Bolling, Callisto’s Director of Programs and Strategic Engagement joined us in this episode to help us learn more about sexual assault on campus and why parents need to know more about this topic. She also shared essential information about Callisto’s encrypted online services soon to be available to anyone with a .edu email address. Callisto is sponsoring a dialogue series to help educate parents and students about the transition to college, consent and healthy relationships, campus survivor rights, and navigating disclosure. If you can’t join the series live, recordings are available. We, as parents, need to educate ourselves and talk to our students about this often uncomfortable topic.

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The topic of sexual assault and sexual violence is one that can be uncomfortable and, as parents, one that many of us would like to avoid. It is also one that is often missing or only touched upon in many standard college orientation sessions for students and parents.

In this episode we were able to hear from Sarayfah Bolling, Director of Programs and Strategic Engagement for Callisto, an organization whose mission is to provide resources and to empower survivors of sexual assault. Sarayfah shared some striking statistics about the number of assaults that take place on college campuses. Sarayfah shared how important it is for parents to be aware of this issue and encouraged parents to talk to their students.

Sarayfah also shared information with us about Callisto Vault, the organization’s encrypted, time-stamped incident report service that allows a victim to complete an anonymous report about any incident, and also the Callisto Matching service that can help a victim know whether their perpetrator is a repeat offender. Both services are anonymous and Callisto is not a reporting agency. Callisto hopes that by October, their services will be available to any student, faculty or staff member with a .edu email address.

We heard about “The Red Zone,” that scary time that occurs between the beginning of September and Thanksgiving when the greatest percentage of sexual assaults occur. Parents need to be aware of this risky time and talk about it with their students.

Sarayfah also shared information with us about Callisto’s educational series of dialogues being held virtually this fall. (College Parent Central is pleased to be a sponsor of this series!)

Information about the events is below. If you have missed these dates, check out Callisto’s Facebook page – callistoorg or their Instagram page – @callisto  to access the recordings.

The dialogue series is free and virtual.

Event #1: Transition to College & Sexual Assault and Prevalence on Campus

August 30th at 8PM EST

Speakers: Dr. Susan B. Sorenson & Lucia Hadsall, Callisto Ambassador

Welcome to this new place and experience called college life. College is a time for self-exploration and exploring this new frontier called “adulthood.” This IG & Facebook Live will center the challenges and opportunities of entering collegiate life, and bring forward the realities of sexual violence on campus. The goal of this discussion is to help prepare you and/or your students as to what you might expect.

Event #2: Consent and Healthy Relationships

September 19th at 8PM EST

Speaker: Jenna Almonte, The I AM Journey – @theiamjourney.co

Nothing says respect and empowerment like engaging in experiences in college that positively support your personal growth and sexual health. During this IG & Facebook Live, we will be exploring some of the ABC’s of healthy relationships and the importance of consent and boundaries as we navigate new experiences.

Event #3: Campus Survivor Rights

November 7th at 8PM EST

Speaker: Cari Simon, Esq.

There are a number of federal regulations in place to hold institutions accountable for preventing and addressing sexual misconduct on college campuses. This webinar will educate parents and students about the legal protections and institutional processes available to you and/or your student, if an incident of sexual violence occurs.

Event #4: Navigating Disclosure and Post-Assault Support Tools and Resources 

November 9th at 8PM EST

Speakers: Dr. Susan B. Sorenson

Telling is a choice. Who and what to tell is a choice that is made over and over again. During this IG & Facebook Live, we will address key issues related to disclosure and post-assault resources and tools for students and parents. We will share 3 recommendations for navigating what can sometimes be tricky terrain.

You can find out more about Callisto by going to projectcallisto.org

You might also want to listen to the College Parent Central podcast interview with Susan Sorenson, author of After Campus Sexual Assault: A Guide for Parents. Dr. Sorenson will be a speaker at two of these sessions. Check out our podcast episode – #053 – Campus Sexual Assault: A Discussion with Author and Public Health Expert Susan Sorenson

If you’d like more information to share with your student or to help you and your student educate yourselves, Sarayfah shared some of Callisto’s resources:

Allies’ Guide

Survivor’s Guide

Find more complete information about the dialogue series

As we usually do with our podcast guests, we asked Sarayfah whether there are any books she would recommend for parents who would like to follow up on this topic.

After Sexual Assault: A Guide for Parents by Susan Sorenson

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller

37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination by Sherry Boschert

Don’t forget that you can listen to all of our previous podcast episodes here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also go to followthepodcast.com/collegeparentcentral to add our podcast (it’s free!) so that you’ll receive each new episode as we release it.

Let us know what you’d like to hear about on future podcasts! Leave a comment below or email us at podcast@collegeparentcentral.com.

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