About Us


Not Just Me is a private, not-for-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. It comprises a group of concerned individuals, who have determined to take concrete, effective action about the estimated 99.7% of sexual offenders who are never convicted.

 

As allegations surrounding Jian Ghomeshi ( a prominent Canadian radio host) began to accumulate in mid-2014, one fact became powerfully evident. There were numerous women who had been victims, each of whom felt they were alone in their experience. It was only because Ghomeshi’s case became front-page news, that they learned of others who had suffered. This, in turn, emboldened and empowered them to take coordinated legal action.


Investigative reporting on the allegations surrounding Bill Cosby (a well-known American entertainer) has highlighted a corollary fact. In this case, it has been discovered that a number of women had taken legal action over the years, but because they were acting alone, his media team was able to isolate each one, attack their credibility, undermine their case, and cajole or intimidate the press into suppressing coverage. But again, because of Cosby’s prominence, the truth is now emerging.


It is clear that in such circumstances, in unity is strength. And the information which makes that unity possible needs to be available to those in ordinary walks of life. Thus the call for an anonymous registry where any person who has suffered sexual assault, abuse or harassment can find others who have been victims of the same aggressor– and by finding each other, find the support and strength to seek justice.



Operational summary


The purpose of the site is to safely connect people who have experienced incidents of sexual assault, abuse or harassment from the same aggressor, so they can pursue joint legal or disciplinary action if they choose. It will comprise an online registry where users can submit confidential incident reports, and then be notified of others who have experienced an incident with the same person. No names or other information will ever be publicly visible.


As many people turn first to social media or other avenues on the Internet for every need, a website like this will be a helpful adjunct to the work undertaken by bricks-and-mortar support centres. It could be the first point of contact for someone who has been assaulted, and provide encouragement to seek further support. Conversely, it could be one more mechanism available to existing agencies in their efforts to identify perpetrators and work for justice.



The site will be designed and executed with the following objectives:

 

          Increase awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault, abuse and harassment

          Contribute to the growing societal intolerance of such aggression

          Provide a safe and supportive environment where those who may be reluctant to take action can find confirmation and validation

          Maintain a permanent database of incidents and actively connect matching victims to provide corroboration should they choose to take action

          Provide information about support services and encourage victims to seek help

          Encourage inter-organizational participation and collaboration in use of the site

          Preserve absolute privacy, anonymity and security of information



Target Demographic


The site will initially be available world-wide, in English (with plans for French and Spanish versions next), for anyone who has suffered sexual assault, abuse or harassment, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. It is positioned to serve those who have experienced:

 

          childhood sexual abuse from clergy, educators, or other adults in authority

          straight, queer or trans date rape

          workplace sexual harassment from co-workers or superiors

          harassment, abuse or assault at the hands of peers or superiors in the military

          harassment, abuse or assault from police, or in institutional settings

          sexual molestation or assault from professionals in medical or other capacities



It should be noted that the site is designed to connect those who have suffered at the hands of the same perpetrator, who is known to the victims. Thus, it may not offer significant aid to those, for instance, who have experienced childhood sexual abuse from their parents, or adult domestic abuse, as such perpetrators do not usually have multiple victims. Similarly, it may not be of significant aid to those who have been assaulted by an unknown individual. However, the site will have information on a variety of support and shelter services, and will encourage users to contact them.



Current team


Formative steps have been underway since November, 2014. The current team comprises:

 

          Founder and executive director, with experience in Canadian charity administration and web development. Currently volunteer.

 

          Social media manager, with experience in social media promotion on a variety of platforms in Canada and Europe. Currently volunteer.

 

          Researcher, with experience in feminist activism and the LGBTQ community. Currently a paid, part-time worker.

 

          Graphic design, web development and site hosting services have been obtained on the open market.



Strategic outline


Branding

Internet domain, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts; provisional logo and design

Complete

Promotion

Email announcement

Complete

Personnel

Administration, web development, social media marketing and research

Complete

Address

Secure postal address in central Toronto location

Complete

Finance 

Set up bank and PayPal accounts in Canada and US

Complete

Hosting

Dedicated server

Complete

Website: Stage I

Preliminary Home page with explanatory information, About Us, FAQ, Privacy Policy pages. Facebook and Twitter widgets. Contact Us and Donation forms.

Complete

Website: Stage II

Resources pages listing relevant national and regional organisations, and local support and shelter services in Canada and US

In progress

Promotion

Daily activity on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts

early Jan, 2015

Promotion

Email progress report and solicitation

Complete

Promotion

Press releases - launch announcement and follow-ups

early 2015

Partnerships

Seek endorsements from and partnerships with diverse individuals and organisations in social services, academia, social and conventional media, etc.

early 2015

Website: Stage III

Development of incident reporting function, including user interface, database and anonymous messaging system. Legal counsel. Revised graphic design

Pending funding

Registration

Form corporation; apply for charitable status

Pending funding



Budget requirements


Phase 1

Basic organisational groundwork; branding; Stage I website development and hosting

$4,200

Phase 2

Promotion, fundraising and partnership activities; Stage II website development

$5,500

Phase 3

Stage III website development; corporate establishment

$14,000

Phase 4

Annual operating

$32,000 +


Outcomes


While estimates of the incidence of sexual assault vary widely (from less than 1 incident per 1,000 population to well over 1 incident per 100, annually) it is nevertheless safe to presume there are many millions of women and men in North America who have experienced sexual abuse or assault in their childhood or adult lives. Most of those incidents go unreported– and prominent among the reasons for this lack of action is the difficulty of proving allegations in court. Without witnesses or corroborating evidence, the presumption of innocence (combined with prejudicial social attitudes and aggressive legal defence) favours the accused. According to some estimates, as many as 99.7% of assailants are never convicted.


Not Just Me can change that balance dramatically. Time will be needed for the database to build to a level where significant numbers of matching reports accumulate. But presuming sufficient public awareness– through media and the cooperation of existing agencies– we could confidently expect measurable results within the first year of operation, and by the end of a decade, it is conceivable that each year tens of thousands of women and men will be able to secure justice which would have been impossible before.


It is hard to imagine any other initiative which could have such a profound impact with so small a budget.