Sex in College is Confusing. Can a Set of Apps Help?

Sex can be confusing enough -- but for college students the rules have changed.  The new standard of “Only Yes Means Yes” has led to hundreds of federal investigations, many wrecked lives, and deepening puzzlement on campuses across the country over just how the rules are to be embodied during the behavior itself.  Simple guidelines -- “the absence of a no is not a yes” -- fail to provide clarity.  Just this month the Connecticut legislature advanced a bill to require “affirmative consent,” which is already the law in both California and New York.  But many students do not understand the very idea of “consent.”  So can a set of phone apps help?
ISCE.edu, a non-profit educational research institute based outside of Boston, thinks yes and has spent the better part of a year battling with Apple to gain approval for a suite of apps to do just that. Finally, at the beginning of this month, Apple relented and the WE-CONSENT™ App is now available for FREE. Last year Apple called the WE-CONSENT™ App “icky” and refused to allow it in the app store.  But over time, ISCE.edu was able to gain approvals -- first for an app to help college students say NO in a more powerful way, then for the I’ve-Been-Violated™ App for sexual assault survivors and now for the WE-CONSENT™ App itself.  As the social issues around consent and assault became more prominent over the past year, Apple relented.
ISCE.edu is presently running no-cost pilot programs at selected institutions across the United States to demonstrate and potentially improve the efficacy of the entire app suite.  These pilots include educational outreach and student uptake efforts designed help schools improve their Title IX compliance programs.  ISCE.edu has a few slots remaining for schools who wish to run a similar no cost pilot program. You can contact Michael Lissack at lissack@isce.edu if your institution would have an interest in participating.
The We-Consent™ App Suite currently consists of four apps: We-Consent™, What-About-No™, I’ve-Been-Violated™, and The-Party-Pass™ App.  The We-Consent™ App is designed to evoke discussion amongst college students, while the other three apps are tools meant to empower their users.  The I’ve-Been-Violated™ App is the ONLY tool designed to help the 85% of sexual assault survivors who are not ready to speak with appropriate authorities in a timely manner.
More details about the app suite can be found at http://weconsentlive.com/Resources and on the web sites http://we-consent.org and  http://thenoapp.org. Android versions for all the apps are expected to be available this spring.
Michael Lissack
lissack@isce.edu
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