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White House Anti-Rape App Contest

White House Asks Developers to Make iPhone an Anti-Rape Tool

Unfortunately, sexual assault is a common occurrence on college students; one in five college-aged women reports being a victim. The White House and the Office of the Vice President hope to turn something else prevalent on college campuses — iPhones and other smartphones — into a tool to prevent sexual violence. They've announced a contest for programmers, and the challenge is to create an app that would help both women and friends help stop sexual assault before it happens.

The contest's rules point out that 75 percent of college students want to intervene in the case of sexual assault, but half say they don't know how. And 60 percent of college students who have been in an abusive relationship say no one helped them. The contest also notes that while there are various websites, hotlines, and other resources to help people who have experienced abuse, there are few that proactively prevent it.

Vice President Joe Biden has turned his attention to on-campus relationship violence and sexual abuse for some time now. The contest describes his and Health and Humans Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's vision for the app:


The application envisioned will offer individuals a way to connect with trusted friends in real-time to prevent abuse or violence from occurring. 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.

Do you think something like this would have been helpful during your college days?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
That's true, Roaring, but I think this might be geared more toward college students to use on campus (that's the impression I got). There were frequent rapes in parking garages after night classes on my college campus, a couple of them by one man who ended up murdering his last victim. It increased college security and they amped up car escorts and extended the hours of the shuttles around campus. Students started their own "looking out for eachother" mentality and used a buddy system while walking back to their cars after late classes. If this app existed at the time, I think it would have been widely used.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
I'm sorry, but if you can identify when you're in a vulnerable circumstance, shouldn't you mostly try to get out of that circumstance, rather than just notify someone? I understand that if you have no other way than to walk yourself somewhere in the dark, that's very useful. But if you're doing something like getting drunk with strangers or going on a date with someone you have a weird feeling about.. maybe think first, as well. Always a good backup though, I guess.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Wow, this is a great idea.
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