Is my information safe?
Q. Is this really anonymous?
A. Yes, since we never ask you for your name, no-one can ever get it from us. And the e-mails that users get never show the e-mail address of any other user– identification is by a code which applies to that communication only.
Q. Is the database safe from snooping or hacking?
A. Yes, we employ state-of-the-art security measures on our server, which are updated regularly. Further, the data are stored in an encrypted database which can only be unencrypted by the system algorithm.
Q. Can Not Just Me staff see the reports?
A. No. Regular NJM staff have no means to view user accounts or the reports they submit.
Will the system work?
Q. Do you believe that a victim will be more likely to share such information with an anonymous website, rather than with the police or a lawyer?
A. The large majority of sexual assaults are never reported to anyone by victims, and there are many reasons– shame, a feeling of somehow being responsible, an expectation they will not be believed, fear (well-founded) that the legal process will expose them to even further abuse, the expectation (unfortunately also well-founded) that no justice will result anyway. Despite the availability of police and lawyers, most victims choose to keep their secret to themselves. Many times they do not even tell their families.
What this site does is open a safe way for victims to begin the process. To start, they can remain completely anonymous. Sometimes it is cathartic just to be able to write about a painful experience, even if nothing further comes of it. But it can also be the first step in coming to terms, and the beginnings of some feeling of control.
Then if the website user finds that others have had similar experiences with the same individual, this removes the largest single stumbling block for victims approaching police or a lawyer– the lack of corroboration. Not only does this knowledge give moral support, but very effective legal credibility.
Q. What if I don’t get a response?
A. It can take months or years before a victim gathers the courage to report sexual assault or abuse. If you do not get an immediate response, that means that to date, no-one else has filed a report involving the same perpetrator. However, your report will remain in the database permanently, so it will be found immediately if and when someone else files a report with matching details.
In the mean time, we recommend that you contact other agencies for support and guidance. There is a comprehensive list of agencies under the “Resources” tab.
Can the system be abused?
Q. What is to prevent this website from being used to smear someone with false accusations?
A. No information about the complainants or accused will ever be publicly visible on the site. Notification of matching reports sent to users will not give the full name of the perpetrator, or any personally identifiable information about the other complainant.
Q. What stops an accused person from posing as one of their own victims, sharing their supposed experiences to convince a victim to come forward just to uncover the identity of their accusers?
A. It is hard to imagine that someone would post a report accusing themselves of sexual assault– a permanent record of a criminal offence– in order to discover if they have been reported by someone else.
Yes, there are those cases where an abuser will stalk or pursue their victim in order to control them, but these cases are typically domestic violence or long-term relationships, and not involve serial victims as is the case with date rape. The Not Just Me site is not designed to address that kind of situation, though there is information on the site referring visitors to local agencies that can help.
Nevertheless, there is information given to users at each stage of the process on how to protect themselves from repercussions: how to erase their browser history in the event that someone is monitoring their Internet activity; how to safely correspond with submitters of matching reports so as to elicit confirming details; how to contact local agencies to assist, even as third party correspondents, in the case of doubt or danger.
Who are you?
Not Just Me is a small group of individuals with a large mission. We are formally affiliated with no other organization, though we collaborate with many of them. Not Just Me receives no government funding, but relies upon private donations for all expenses. Please consider making a donation to support this important initiative.
For further information, visit the “About us” page