It’s no secret that women are vulnerable targets for crime and violence. In fact, studies have estimated that up to one in three women will become the victim of some form of violence in their lifetime.
It’s been appropriately described as a pandemic, and even as we move toward recognizing and protecting the rights of all people, the problem of violence against women remains. Fortunately, technology has provided useful tools for women to protect themselves and take their safety into their own hands. If you’re concerned with your personal security, take a look at the five apps below and the ways they may be able to help.
In an emergency, time is often your most valuable resource. Guardly is based on that fact, and the key to its operation is the ability to quickly and efficiently contact both loved ones and, if necessary, 911 or other authorities. Using the app, you can preprogram various types of emergencies – everything from assault to robbery to allergic reactions or other medical emergencies – and specify exactly who you would like contacted. The app also provides a profile where you can input your personal details, relevant medical information, important contacts and other information that may be useful in the event of an emergency.
Circle of 6
In 2011, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services created the Apps Against Abuse Challenge, a program aimed at developing new ways for young people, and particularly young women, to protect themselves and seek help when needed. Circle of 6 was one of two winning apps, and for good reason. The app makes it easy for you to input your own “Circle of 6” – six friends, family members or other people you would like to contact when you need support. After that, calling for help is just two quick touches away.
The app instantly sends one of three preset text messages to your six supporters, along with your current address and a map of your precise location. Whether it’s simply requesting a ride home, a phone call to get you away from an uncomfortable situation or an emergency requiring immediate help, assistance is never more than two touches away. The app also provides national abuse hotline numbers and can be programmed with numbers for local authorities.
When you think of dangerous situations, you probably conjure up images of empty streets and dark alleyways. The reality, however, is that even your home may not be as safe as you believe. The Vivint Sky App, and its associated security systems and optional components, seeks to change that through home automation and security tools. The app can put virtually your entire home at your fingertips, allowing you to lock doors, control lights, remotely view security cameras and much more, all from a computer, smartphone or other mobile device.
Sky also provides automation tools so that you can set your lighting, door locks, HVAC and other home components to a predetermined schedule. Additionally, the system can incorporate smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and other home safety features to keep you as safe as possible.
When it comes to personal security, few apps provide as many features as bSafe. You can send notifications to your friends when you’ve arrived at a destination, allow trusted people to track your movements via GPS and request a fake phone call to excuse yourself from a difficult situation. In an emergency, bSafe becomes even more powerful. It can instantly trigger an audible alarm, send your location to friends and family, broadcast live video from your phone or tablet’s camera and record timestamps, geo-locations and other data that may prove useful to authorities. You can also use bSafe to set up alerts and emergency messages that will be automatically triggered if you fail to check in at predetermined times.
Sometimes all you want is to go home, but finding a safe ride can be difficult. The cab4me app all but eliminates this problem by making it quick and simple to find a trusted taxi cab service wherever you go. Using your GPS data or a manually set pickup location, the app searches for taxi services that are willing to pick you up at the specified place and time. The app only lists trusted taxi services, so there’s no need to worry about whether the cab that arrives is safe to use. You can easily contact the taxi company of your choice, and the app also displays information such as car choices and payment options where available.
The world isn’t always a safe place for women. A woman alone on the street is often seen as a particularly vulnerable target for crime, and domestic violence and sexual assault are ever-present concerns. There is no way to completely prevent violence and other dangers, but apps like the ones above can go a long way toward empowering women everywhere to live their lives more safely and confidently.
Emma Bailey is a freelance writer and blogger from the Midwest. After going to college in Florida she relocated to Chicago, where she now lives with a roommate and two rabbits. She covers current topics in health technology and issues pertaining to the environment.