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(06 MAY 2017) Stories from the Hub, Technologies Against Assault

Meet Richard Park and Bella Okiddy of Technologies Against Assault, co-working members at the SEG Hub in Providence, RI.
www.TechAgainstAssault.com
Interview conducted by Traci Picard
Edited by Traci Picard
Recorded in Providence, RI April 2017

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(23 DEC 2016) Empowering assault victims

"The duo in May founded Tech Against Assault, a Providence benefit corporation, and is making a rape kit capable of providing preliminary forensic analysis during an examination. This improves on a process that's currently drawn-out, happens outside medical centers in forensic labs and leaves potential victims wondering what happened." (Read more...)
"When someone has been sexually assaulted, the last thing they need is to wait for months, or perhaps even forever, for forensic evidence in the case to be analyzed. Richard Park and Bella Okiddy are working to change that." (Read more...)
"Utilizing all the resources at their disposal, Park and Okiddy’s social impact mission is clear: Making their kits available to civil authorities by 2017 is just the first step. Ultimately, their hope is to use biotechnology to reduce barriers to reporting, decrease cost of analysis, and lower forensic turnaround time, all while exceeding legal requirements for prosecution." (PDF)
MassChallenge is the largest startup accelerator program in the world. Finalists Phil Michaels, co-founder and CEO of Tembo Education; Bella Okiddy, co-founder of Tech Against Assault; and Paul Jaminet, co-founder and CEO of Angiex, join necn to discuss their companies. (Watch the video...)
"What if collecting forensic evidence after a sexual assault was as simple as taking an at-home pregnancy test? Brown University students Richard Park, a graduating senior, and Bella Okiddy, a graduating master’s student, say it can be." (Read more...)
“We have found that often, the students who are able to work on their ventures full time upon graduation are the ones who have the family and personal resources to support them financially,” said Alan Harlam, director of innovation and social entrepreneurship at the Swearer Center. “We are leveling the playing field by helping ensure that the ventures with the strongest potential are the ones who receive this high level of support” (Read more...)
“A lot of people have been touched by sexual assault, but they just don’t know it,” Okiddy said. “It affects everyone, even though we might not talk about it.”

Park said he hopes that TAA can improve the system for reporting sexual assault, which currently fosters the “idea that everything is on the survivor.” The startup’s technological approach aims to “ameliorate and alleviate a lot of these feelings,” he added. (Read more...)

"How did you meet?
Bella: We met during our sophomore year in a Biomaterials class. But we really didn't get to know each other till we travelled around Europe during our junior spring. I was studying abroad in Dublin while Richard was in Paris, and he just messaged me out of the blue - asking if I'd like to travel around Europe. This was a first for me, but I thought "why not?" I always wonder about what life would be like if I'd said no." (Read more...)