Morgan Mercer, A Two Time Victim Of Sexual Violence, Says Enough Is Enough and Launches Vantage Point, A VR Startup Teaching Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Education.
Sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual violence have been going on far too long. Before the Harvey Weinstein’s and Matt Lauer’s of the world, there was still enough stories about sexual violence and assault to spark over 416 episodes of Law and Order SVU. Over fifty of those episodes have dealt with sexually aggressive behavior on college campuses.
In the real world, “…at the collegiate level, one in four women are victims of sexual assault. 80 percent of those go unreported.” Mercer told technical.ly DC.
That’s an alarming statistic. Some of those cases go unreported because the women feel that their assailants may seek retribution. Some go unreported because the young woman doesn’t want it to affect her social or academic status. Some go unreported because the victim doesn’t want to feel victimized. And even some of those go unreported because the victim doesn’t even realized they’ve been victimized.
The culture that has created this world of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual abuse needs to change. Mercer knows that. Education needs to start at the most impressionable age which is college. That education needs to stem beyond the university though and into the workplace. The problem is, that educational materials on these topics are majorly outdated. Corny doesn’t even begin to describe most of the educational videos available on the topic of sexual harassment and sexual violence. In order to get through to the young people that need to open their eyes to this, Mercer needed to find the most engaging means to do so, and that is virtual reality.
By using VR to put both women and men in scenarios of sexual harassment, they get first hand knowledge of where the line is, and what crosses it. Mercer’s startup, Vantage Point, is producing immersive content in the mission to help educate millions.
“Together we’re simulating a better reality- one free from sexual harassment and sexual assault.” the company says on their website.
Vantage Point’s VR driven content reaches far beyond “no means no”. In the past five months we’ve seen so many men say they didn’t realize they were hurting their victim. Household names like Russell Simmons and Matt Lauer have both taking that road. While we want to think that they’re a rich assholes above reproach, many studies have found that some men (and women in some cases) don’t even realize that they’ve sexually assaulted someone or made them uncomfortable. Using this approach with immersive virtual reality experiences will create a much better understanding for women and for men.
There is a lot more great content on Mercer and what Vantage Point is doing at tryvantagepoint.com