In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a Santa Barbara-based, online platform for sexual assault survivors called MapYourVoice has launched this year.
Santa Barbara therapist Jeni Ambrose, the executive director of MapYourVoice, says that the website allows users to submit anonymous sexual assault reports and receive support from others. Ambrose hopes MapYourVoice will incite social and political change.
“I really hoping this project is something that can turn a culture that has allowed this happen on its head,” she said. “I want to see one million people on MapYourVoice within the first year and cause such a public uproar that will cause legislative change [and] law enforcement change in the way that #MeToo has.”
The anonymous data from the reports is collected to further research in sexual assault and violence. Ambrose wants to share the data with political leaders and those in academia to lessen the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding sexual assault and abuse.
While the platform is designed to be used by survivors all over the world, Ambrose said that outreach to college campuses is a priority. She plans to work with campus organizations to further the project’s network in the future.
Ambrose hopes that reaching out to universities will raise awareness about the types of sexual assaults that occur on campus and provide students with information to have an open dialogue about sexual assault.
“It’s important for young women and men to start having conversations about sexual assault, hookup culture, and party culture where a lot of these sorts of these things happen,” she said. “And to really think about it from the point of view of what quality of life or what kind of experience do they want to have while in college.”
Although Ambrose intends for MapYourVoice to have many applications to improve and deepen the understanding of sexual violence, she ultimately sees MapYourVoice as part of the recovery process and resources available to survivors of sexual assault and other sex crimes such as sexual abuse or sex trafficking.
“The whole platform is designed around bringing support, healing, recovery, and public awareness,” she said. “MapYourVoice is designed to be a bridge between them and the support that they need.”