Want To Prevent Abuse And Sexual Assault? Create An App For That

Posted by Nona Willis Aronowitz


Feminists have been using technology to combat sexual abuse, domestic violence, and harassment for quite some time, and now the government is jumping on the bandwagon. The Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are collaborating with Vice President Joe Biden's office to create an app to make it easier to connect with "trusted friends in real time to prevent abuse or violence from occurring." From the website:

While the application will serve a social function of helping people stay in touch with their friends, it will also allow friends to keep track of each other’s whereabouts and check in frequently to avoid being isolated in vulnerable circumstances.

This is especially impressive because it doesn't invoke the age-old assumption that women should be dressing differently, curbing their drinking, or otherwise putting a crimp in their slutty lifestyles in order to avoid being sexually assaulted. Rather, it aims to increase networking among people who are aware of the problem of sexual violence generally and their friends' well-being specifically. It has the same sentiment as the "I've Got Your Back" campaign recently launched by Hollaback!, a movement started by young feminists to call out street harassers.

Best of all, it's a "challenge" open to the public, part of Challenge.gov. So if you're tech-savvy and care about the safety of women and girls, get crackin'. The deadline to submit is October 17th.

photo (cc) by Flickr user SimonDoggett