Whether it’s your first semester or your last, heading off to college is both an exciting and nerve wracking time. And not just because of the intellectual demands of classes. Campus safety has increasingly become a major issue facing students across the nation.
A recent survey conducted by the Association of American University found that nearly 30% of all college students, no matter their gender or sexual identity, have experienced some form of sexual assault over the course of their college career. Three-fourths of these victims did not report their assault to either the university or police due to fear of embarrassment and the belief that nothing would be done about it.
Campus administrators, lawmakers and even the White House have responded by enacting bills such as the Clery Act, Yes Means Yes, and the It’s On Us campaign, all aimed at reducing incidents of sexual assault through education and public policy. While that ideally provides reassurance for sexual assault victims; it doesn’t address what someone who is in immediate danger of being sexually assaulted can do to prevent or escape a dangerous situation.
That’s where technology steps in. The average student is already glued to their smartphones, and now there are plenty of apps that can help keep you safe on and off campus. Here are 5 amazing apps designed to increase personal safety:
- bSafe – Jada Pinkett Smith was so impressed with this app she became a major investor. The bSafe app allows you to select friends or family, called Guardians. You can select as many as you like, with one primary contact. It has five features designed to address your situation. When you are in imminent danger, you can use the SOS alarm, which includes a siren, a map of your location, video of your surroundings, and a phone call to your primary guardian. The app also features a fake call setting (for excusing yourself from horrendous dates), real-time location sharing, a timer for outdoor activities and a live GPS trace you can share with friends when you’re walking alone on campus.
- Guardly – this app isn’t just for college students; its creators wanted to address and reduce workplace violence. Since traditional GPS was created for outdoor locations, Guardly software features an indoor positioning to better manage emergency response situations, like a shooter in a building. In 2015, there were 52 shooting on campuses across the country. With Guardly, the system administrator can provide escape routes depending on the location and type of activity reported. Guardly is perfect for universities, due to its mobile mass notification system that can send 500,000 push notifications in a mere nanosecond.
- Circle of 6 – the winner of the White House “Apps Against Abuse” challenge, Circle of 6 allows you to choose six people to alert when you are in a dangerous situation. Its features include a Come Get Me alert that sends a text and GPS coordinates; a Call Me text when you need an interruption; and an I Need to Talk text to encourage confidential conversations about traumatic experiences. The app also provides direct access to national hotlines, such as LGTBQ or Spanish speakers, that cater to the user’s particular needs.
- Rave Guardian – this app helps keep you safe and allows you to keep your friends safe too. You can invite someone to check in on you, using the Safety Timer feature. This same feature can alert campus security if you don’t arrive at your destination in time. Its database it connected to a nationwide network of emergency responders, so you can send pictures of anything suspicious to the right people at the right time.
- Kitestring – this is the kind of app that prevents your life from becoming the next installment of the movie When you find yourself walking alone or in a dangerous place, simply activate this app and Kitestring will test you later to see if you’re safe. If you don’t respond, the app alerts your emergency contacts that something might be wrong, even if Liam Nisan isn’t on that list. The best part is, you don’t even need a smartphone. Kitestring offers their service through a totally free website.
Despite the intention of these wonderful apps, incidents of sexual assault can and do occur. What’s important to remember is that you’re not alone. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault, we at the Pride Law Firm are here to help you cope with your attack and stand up for your rights.