Just over the last two weeks I’ve written about two new technological advances to help women combat sexual assault in Haiti and New Delhi:
- Free Violence Response Hotline Launches in Haiti to Support Victims of Sexual Assault
- There’s an App For That: Fight Back App Protects Women in New Delhi
Little did I know that right here in the United States the Office of the Vice President and the White House Office of Science and Technology had launched the Apps Against Abuse technology challenge.
The Apps Against Abuse challenge charges developers to create innovative apps to empower young adults to put an end to abuse and violence. According to the challenge site, the apps are envisioned to have a variety of features to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault like:
- connecting victims with trusted friends in real-time to prevent the abuse from happening
- allow friends to keep track of each otherís whereabouts
- provide resources that will encourage users to intervene before abuse happens
- provide resources to educate users how to intervene safely and effectively
The target users for the app include college students, residential advisers, sorority or fraternity members, and young men and women who want to help promote violence prevention in their communities.
And the Winners Are
From a pool of over 30 entries the winners of the challenge (drum roll please) are “Circle of 6″ and “On Watch.”
“Circle of 6″ is an application that allows users to set up a circle of six trusted friends that you can quickly text for help or advice with your GPS location included. In the event of an emergency, the app will directly call 1-800-Love is not abuse. The app also asks your contacts to take a pledge on Facebook to stop violence before it happens to expand your network of supporters even more.
“On Watch” is an app lets users transmit critical information to your support network via phone, email, text, and social media. With just a few clicks you can check in with friends, call 911 or campus police, set countdown times that send messages and GPS information automatically, and connect to sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic abuse hotlines.
Why the Need for Apps Against Abuse?
The reality of the need for phone applications to fight abuse is important now more than ever. Just take a look at the statistics:
- Nearly 1 in 5 women report experiencing sexual assault while in college
- 75% of college students say that it is important to intervene in assault but over half say they donít know how
- 60% of college students who have been in an abusive relationship say no one helped them
I hope these apps will do their job and help prevent dating violence and sexual assaults.
What do you think? Will they help? What about women who canít afford smartphones? How can we empower these women?
Related from Care2:
Photo by renatomitra used under a Creative Commons license