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I Didn’t Report My Assault - Instead I Shared It With Thousands of People

We know there is a huge lack of information and understanding when it comes to sexual assault. It is a well-known fact that only 25% of assaults are ever reported to the police. I am personally in that bucket of unreported assaults. It is a deeply personal decision for survivors to report - especially when you feel like your reputation will be thrown through the gauntlet and our broken legal system creates even more (and often worse) trauma for survivors. For me, it took years to even admit to myself that I was assaulted - the idea of putting it down legally and formally did not at all feel like something I could do. 

But one benefit of reporting that I did not want to give up was the power of sharing my story and what happened to me. For me, and many other survivors, the idea that our stories can help others learn about how these things actually happen is a form of power so strong that it heals. It is on this power that Flare was built. 

Flare was built by all of us together. Before we even developed our first prototype, thousands of people shared their own personal safety stories with us in the hopes that their experiences would help us develop better solutions for themselves and for others. Our users can opt-in to privately share their own stories and analytics from their Flare bracelets to help us continuously improve our solutions. We use analytics to better understand the patterns across these stories and develop more features to address the situations that our users experience the most.

 

One of our core tenants at Flare is unity. We believe that change comes when we unite together and have each others’ backs— and we use data analytics as one means of doing this. 

When I say there has been a lack of data around sexual assaults I mean in all aspects - from how often they occur, to how they happen, to who they happen to. This lack of data has led to the prevalence of misconceptions and enables perpetrators to continue to create harm. It makes the problem of personal safety seem less than the huge societal challenge it actually is, which again, in turn, enables bad actors. You get my point. By banding together to share our stories and the details about how these situations happen, we develop better tools to combat and prevent them. 

As a survivor, it is incredibly easy to feel like you’re all alone - like what you experienced makes you an outsider. The lack of data around assaults has historically exacerbated this feeling, making survivors feel even more ostracized. But survivors should never have to feel alone because we make up ⅕ of the American population. That is at least ⅕ - because so many assaults go unreported. Knowing that so many other people experienced similar situations as I did gave me strength. It showed me that I could be resilient too. 

Since founding Flare, I have had to speak publicly about my assault more times than I ever thought I could and I end up thinking about it more often than I ever want to. But because of this, I can see the impact that sharing my story has with others who see part of their stories in mine and how uncovering these patterns across stories can lead to better prevention. Knowing that the data behind my story has contributed to creating better safety solutions for others is a power that I carry with me and can stand-up tall on. 

We have very intentionally built Flare so that we can keep learning from each others’ experiences, and recognize the power that comes from knowing you’re not the only one with a story to share. When users choose to share their stories and data with us, we have a better understanding of how the product is being used, what kind of situations it is being used in, and how often those situations happen. That information is then used to make improvements to the product and helps us decide on future features in our mobile app. We are always taking new feature suggestions from users so that we can provide more safety options for them. 

The Flare community is filled with incredible people who give a damn about not just their safety but the safety of others. They stand united and we could not be more proud to serve them. 

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