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?