Ranch & Coast Magazine

January 2024

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with assistance that is most relevant and available to them, including local resources in addition to the general guidance and national hotline information on the site. Because of the statistics surrounding sexual assault on college campuses — an estimated 13 percent of all college students experience sexual violence — in addition to its origin at ASU, establishing campus-specific versions of Here4U at colleges and universities to present both on- and off-campus resources for users is a primary goal. However, county-specific versions are also part of the plan, expanding who can be served by Here4U beyond the confines of a campus and support available specifically for students. Slater is now working to take Here4U live in additional locations, and she's made her own backyard her springboard, focusing on Southern California. A San Diego version is set to launch in February. Additionally, she has aligned with It's On Us, a national sexual violence prevention and awareness nonprofit organiz ation specific all y intended for college campuses. rough this relationship, Slater says, Here4U will be rolling out to 500 colleges nationwide in the next 12 to 18 months, also beginning next month. e first California school to activate Here4U will be USC, where, says Slater, an astounding one in three females on campus has experienced some form of sexual violence; the national average is one in six. Here4U's biggest barrier is, not surprisingly, funding. e site- specific customized versions of the app are work-intensive and require support and maintenance. From businesses with social responsibility goals to advocacy groups and beyond, her role takes her in front of various people and organizations in her search for support to expand Here4U to become a broad resource for survivors nationwide. ough she admits that it's the technology side rather than sales that is her true strength, her determination to see the tool widely activated keeps her pushing on. "It fires me up to try to find a way to bring in people who want to come alongside survivor organizations and make great progress," she says. "I think from just a pure humanitarian point of view that there's a lot of work to be done, and that work can be done by continuing to charge forward." M AGGIE SLATER'S NORTH County-based company, Aliferous Technology, has been building apps for years, serving small businesses in various sectors including finance and education. ough it was (and remains) fulfilling to help her clients grow through the technology her company builds, a few years ago, says Slater, she began to feel that she also wanted to pursue something "more heart-centered." When she happened upon an acquaintance's Facebook post mentioning a concept for an app that would help survivors of sexual assault navigate pathways and resources available to them, it struck a chord in her. e idea belonged to Michelle Villegas-Gold, Senior Director of Health Strategy at Arizona State University, whose sister and Slater had known each other growing up. "What Michelle was doing was exactly what I'd been looking for," says Slater. "I just kept hounding her until she would take a call with me, and then after that, we met in person, talked for hours on end, and then started hashing out the details of how we could move forward together in taking her work, her concepts, her research, and really a lot of her professional life's work up until that point, and transition that into a full-fledged technological solution in app format." Envisioned as a decision aid rather than a direct resource, guiding survivors on how to seek care as well as justice, the project became Here4U.care, which launched at ASU in 2021 as a pilot with Villegas-Gold and Slater as co-founders. e app walks users through a series of questions to help them learn about services and make decisions in a safe, non-threatening space, including physical and mental health resource options, how to pursue justice, and how to reach advocates and connect with immediate support. Brief, direct, and step-by-step, the process is anonymous and even lists pros and cons to help those in the midst of deeply traumatic circumstances make more informed choices before acting. e app is web-based, doesn't use "cookies," and features a "Quick Exit" button on every page — all for user safety. Slater says the goal for Here4U is to become a tool that has customized, site-specific versions that connect survivors @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE JANUARY 2024 35 Maggie Slater

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