Master's Thesis Design/Margo Startup

Redesigning Gender Violence Reporting

Year
2019
Role
Lead Designer
Company
School of Visual Arts
Redesigning Gender Violence Reporting

A year-long exploration into how design could improve responses to domestic violence victims. It resulted in six designs, an experience, a co-creation workshop and research volunteer work as a sexual assault advocate at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

  • Winner of Fast Company's 2020 World Changing Ideas Award - Student Category
  • Showcased at the 2020 Design Indaba Conference - Emerging Designer Category
  • Winner of the ICFF x Interior Design Mag 2019 NYCxDesign Award- Student Category
  • Showcased at the 2019 Antenna Conference for Dutch Design Week
  • Showcased at the 2019 Global Grad Show at Dubai Design Week

The Problem

In the US someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds. However, only 30% of survivors report the crime and less than 1% of sexual assault cases end in a conviction. This means that the current system isn't working and that the ways to get help are not sufficient, which is by reporting and getting a sexual assault evidence kit (rape kit). These kits are not widely available (only in 20% of US hospitals) and are disproportionately available to whiter wealthier neighborhoods​. They are only available in Emergency Rooms (often the last place a victim wants to go) and can take up to 10 hours to complete, so it's no surprise why they're described as traumatizing by both victims and the healthcare providers collecting evidence. Additionally, after you get a kit, they are rarely tested or tracked. In fact, there are currently over 400,000 untested kits in the US.

It's not about what happened to you, it's about what happens after.
Participants in a co-creation workshop redesigning kits for victims.

Solutions

The design proposals aim to solve various problems about the reporting process across multiple users from the victim, police, nurses and more. They include an app helping victims find help after an assault, an OTC post-assault kit and evidence collecting service, a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit (rape kit), a speculative DNA detecting device and a digital platform that helps victims and police track kits


INSIDE THE KIT

A public rape kit exhibition that displayed the current kit, all of its components and envelopes and important information about kits in New York's Union Square. The exhibit drew in over 100 people. It included a two sided panel with all of the rape kit envelopes laid out step by step with graphic descriptions, info-graphic panels displaying information about sexual assaults, and interactive take-home elements like resource cards and stickers.

SAFE

Safe is an app that provides help options and resources to victims of sexual assault. It includes information about who they can contact after assault, options for reporting, information about getting rape kits, and information about and rides to the nearest hospitals that are equipped to respond to sexual assault victims.

MARGO (Formerly RNA)

Margo is a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit (rape kit) and integrated digital platform that improves the experience of reporting and collecting evidence for healthcare providers, police and victims. The kit is redesigned to make the process faster and more seamless for providers, and the platform aims to improve communication and collaboration between victims, nurses, and police creating a space where victims receive better transparency into the reporting process, can better document their case and can track their kits.

CODE

Code is a speculative medical product that instantaneously detects foreign DNA to expedite the testing process for sexual assault kits. It consists of two parts: 1) A DNA collecting smart tool (pen) that swabs the body and instantaneously detects foreign DNA and 2) a testing, reading and charging station that uploads and scans the DNA immediately.

HARK

Hark is an over-the-counter post sexual assault product and rape kit service. The OTC kit includes health resources for immediate care such as Plan B, STI self-testing and information about options after an assault (mental health options, rape kit options, reporting options, healthcare options). It also includes an app and service that then allows SANE nurses to come to the victim to collect evidence for the rape kit.

ALLAY

Allay is a digital platform that makes it easier to track rape kits and allows victims, nurses and police to communicate about the kit and case. It helps solve for three problem areas around the way with which police interact with the kits: 1) It saves time that police take going back and forth with the rape kit and waiting at the hospital for the kit to be complete, 2) Having the information in one digital platform allows for more seamless coordination between police, nurses, lab techs, lawyers and the victim, and 3) It encourages police to test the kits as they are more visibly accountable for them each step of the way.