Keep your friends close

We at the Record salute the administration’s introduction of the College-specific sexual assault prevention application Circle of 6. We hope that Circle of 6 will facilitate sexual assault prevention by increasing awareness of sexual assault on campus and normalizing the act of reaching out for help.

We are confident that Circle of 6’s simple interface will allow individuals in high-stress situations to use it effectively, tapping into a personalized support network that can come to their aid. The decision to reach out to one’s friends, Junior Advisors or Ephventures leaders for help can be a stressful one, but an easy-to-use app with simple, pre-written messages takes some of the pressure out of that choice.

The prevalence of this app on campus also goes a long way toward removing existing stigma against asking for help. It is our hope that the knowledge of other students using the app and understanding its meaning will increase both the efficacy and accessibility of Circle of 6. We approve of the administration’s step in encouraging all first-years to download the app during entry meetings, and would like to see more upperclassmen download the app as well. We hope that the administration and organizations like the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN) continue to advertise Circle of 6 across campus so that more students can access this resource.

We at the Record are particularly excited about the College-specific resources featured as part of the app’s release on campus. With the tap of a touchscreen, students can be connected with a variety of College-specific resources, including Campus Safety & Security, RASAN and local police. This makes a particular difference in such a small community, and takes away some of the guesswork for students when reacting to an unsafe situation.

Though Circle of 6 was designed to combat sexual assault, it can also be applied to a multitude of causes, from mental health issues to concerns about healthy relationships. We at the Record encourage students to find positive ways to implement this new resource.

We stand in full support of every effort to prevent sexual assault on campus. However, we must also acknowledge that this app is only one of many ways to help prevent sexual assault, and we urge the members of the College community to continue being active bystanders. We hope that this app works as a springboard to bring us closer to the resolution of these issues.

The app, however, is available only for iPhone and Android users, which makes it a less convenient solution for many students, including those with Windows phones. Those students may find that it helps to simply create a group message ahead of time through which to communicate with their “six.” In this case, students will have to write the messages themselves, but this method also has promise and should be encouraged.

While this app provides potentially crucial support to those who feel endangered, it is also important to remember that sexual assault happens solely as a result of a perpetrator’s actions. The introduction of Circle of 6 to this campus will, we hope, give students a tool to feel safer and more in control of situations that may otherwise develop into sexual assault. This being said, Circle of 6 is no replacement for the responsibility and vigilance we must provide even when our phones are off.

We at the Record are optimistic that Circle of 6 will not only help students who find themselves in difficult situations, but also help to broaden the dialogue about additional ways to prevent sexual assault. We encourage everyone to download Circle of 6, and to be vigilant bystanders in support of their fellow students. We think this is a step in the right direction, empowering members of our community to keep watching out for one another.