‘Circle of 6’ App Hopes to Halt Sexual Assault on Campus
Because it’s time to stand up to violence against women!
The typical four year stay at college is portrayed as a time of fun, growth, and countless coffee runs. But everywhere from frat parties to dorm rooms can pose threats for young women. According to a recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while pursuing higher education.
This shocking statistic is what helped prompt sexual assault survivor and The Line Campaign founder Nancy Schwartzman, ISIS founder Deb Levine, web startup pro Christine Corbett Moran, and graphic designer Thomas Cabus to do something to help women stay safe. Through their efforts, the iPhone app titled “Circle of 6” was born.
“The process was incredibly collaborative between the four of us, and it took only a few weeks to develop the prototype,” Levine told us.
Through the concepts of easily accessible icons and a social circle consisting of a group of 6 close friends, the app is designed to aid women facing three particular situations. Users can tap the car icon to request a safe ride home, the phone icon to call circle members for help, or the chat icon to discuss serious issues and receive information about abuse and violence. In the case of an emergency, women in trouble would be located with the app’s integrated GPS device. Both the Love is Respect and RAINN hotlines would also be contacted automatically.
This app was so good that it took first place in the Office of the Vice President’s Apps Against Abuse technology challenge. More than 30 entries were submitted, but the vice president’s team was seriously impressed by the concept of a support circle of trusted friends and the two-touch call for help capability.
“Colleges and universities have a very difficult job to do with thousands of students on each campus from diverse backgrounds, ethics and value systems,” Levine explained. “Vice President Biden, on a recent call with University and College presidents, stated that most schools have done a good job with code compliance regarding the aftermath of assaults on campus. And that it’s time to create a climate, both on campus and off, that does not tolerate sexual assault so that we can stop the violence before it happens. Circle of 6 aims to do just that.”
Whether you’re a current college student or graduated decades ago, you can help the effort –and the first step is spreading the word.
“Join the Facebook group, talk about the issues, keep the dialogue real, and help disseminate the app on campus and off campus once it launches,” Levine said.
The good news: more than 3,000 women and men have already hit that Facebook “Like” button on the Circle of 6 page and response to the app has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Press coverage has been positive, and we are working to engage corporate sponsors in our efforts to bring the app to largest number of students across the country. We are seeking to raise funds so that we can impact 30,000 lives before 2013,” Levine shared.
So what are you waiting for, ladies? Chat about this worthy cause with your gal pals and do your part to help end violence against women!
While Levine told us that her team is “working furiously” for the app’s release on the iPhone and Droid in early 2012, we’ll have to wait longer for it to hit other platforms.
“We do have ideas for expansion and add-on services, although right now, we are consumed with the first launch of the original app,” Levine explained.
We can’t wait for this app to start changing lives, because the only thing college women should have to worry about is their next big exam!
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential.