Women’s safety has been severely jeopardized by criminals, more so in recent times. It is nearly impossible to be out alone late at night and not be worried about being attacked. However, if you have a smartphone, there are some safety apps that can bring you some relief, with a promise of helping out in case of danger.
According to Circle of 6, more than 1 in 4 college women are a victim of sexual assault.
As the occurrence of rape cases continue to rise, the uproar and debate around it continue to increase day by day. While governments all around are busy deciding the intensity of punishment for the culprits, and as colleges churn out dress codes for girl students, some techies have a simple solution to offer regarding this grave problem. The answer is as simple as a button on your smartphone!
Yes, your smartphone has just got a little more smarter than it originally was, by largely securing your safety. Very little can be done in the aftermath of a heinous crime. But a preemptive measure can surely ensure a little more safety. So, without much ado, let us get to the point. Here is a list of mobile applications which you can use in case of an emergency.
In the wake of the grotesque gang rape which left Delhi, the capital of India, in an irrecoverable shock, the Mahindra Group has developed India’s first women’s safety application for smartphones. This comes right at the time when the spate of rape cases has only risen. Today, this application is available to all Android, Nokia, Windows, iOS, and BlackBerry users, free of cost. This application can be used by GPS, GPRS, email, Facebook, and SMS in case of no Internet connectivity. The moment you press the panic button, the application sends an alert to the portal’s page, and gives out the location to all application users on Google Map. The application also sends out SMSes to those numbers which have been registered by the user as emergency contacts. The Facebook page of the user also gets updated with the SOS message, if the user has logged in via this social networking site.
Criminals lurk in the most unexpected places, such as jogging tracks, parks, or they could be passengers in your daily mode of commute as well. But bSafe gives you some assurance and safety. This simple-to-use application has a big red SOS button which contacts the people whose numbers you have registered to be contacted in case of any emergency. The application alerts the guardians through notifications, SMSes, or voice messages. The voice function is available only for one number. Just after the guardians have been alerted, the next message is sent to notify them about the location. The best part about this application is that it relies on SMS and not GPRS services. The next best thing is that it allows you to post your location through ‘I’m here’. This way, your guardians know your location. This aspect of the application is especially useful for those traveling alone with unknown people.
This safety application differs a little from the rest. It allows you to make calls to the numbers you have saved to contacts in case of an emergency. The application also allows you to specify your emergency, such as peanut allergy, stroke, or walking home alone. It also allows you to specify your location frequently, such as work, home, or school. In case of accidental emergencies, the information filled in the application, such as your birth date, eye/hair color, height, weight, blood type, plus medical information including existing conditions, allergies, medications, your doctor’s name and phone number, insurance details, and policy number can prove to be extremely useful.
Circle of 6
The name of this application pretty much describes what it is going to be like. You can add 6 trusted guardians to your circle. This is one of the best applications for college students, who live away from families, and can only rely on their closest friends in times of need. All this app asks for is two taps, and it sends out template alert messages to those 6 chosen contacts. It also calls your home number to disclose your location. The application includes a few emergency numbers of the police, which can also be changed as per your location.
Hollaback! is not just a safety application for women, but a movement in its own right. As the tag line goes, ‘Hollaback!’ You have the power to end street harassment, it offers a platform to bring the perpetrators of crime to the fore. A user can take videos of the harasser and upload it immediately as ‘caught in the act’, and submit the incident on ihollaback.org. This is an instant way of catching harassers on a public platform, and creating proof of the incident.
VithU: V Gumrah Initiative
VithU is another emergency application developed in the wake of the gruesome Delhi gang rape case in India. One click on the power button and the app sends alerts to your guardians. After that, every two minutes it sends your designated contacts a message of your location. The alert messages are any one of the following: I am in danger, I need help, orPlease follow my location.
cab4me Taxi Finder
This is not just a safety app, but also a very useful application in your everyday life. Once you register, you are provided with a database of the cabs in and around your location. In case of an emergency, or a situation where you need to get out of quickly, you can get an instant notification of cabs in your area. The map on the application also shows you the nearest taxi stands. The call feature directly connects you with taxi service providers so that you can get a ride home as fast as possible.
StreetSafe is yet another safety application for women. This app comes with a feature called ‘Walk With Me’, which promises to stay with you till you get back home safe. The app can make a call, while the ‘Personal Safety Advisor’ is with you till you reach a safe zone. If the call gets disconnected for some reason, the advisor connects your call to the police station for further assistance. One of its features, called the ‘Silent Alarm’, allows you to get help locally by using the GPS feature of your smartphone.
This application is best meant for notifying your closest guardians in case of trouble. The app allows you to create a close-knit circle of your family members on an invite-only map. This way, you can choose to share your location, chat individually with each member, send alerts, and track stolen or lost phone handsets. It uses the latest GPS technology, and notifies users through emails, calls, and messages, when the SOS button is pressed.
OnWatch was the winner of the campaign Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Once you install this application, all it requires are two taps to get connected to 911, or the campus police station. It also sends messages through texts and emails to the contacts that are fed in the app. The messages can be customized too. It also includes a system which uses the GPS location to inform guardians of your whereabouts. The application also allows you to post messages on Facebook and Twitter.
Heinous crimes against women have become rampant these days. We may dish out the harshest of punishments to these criminals, but in the moment of that act, the repercussions of the same are never thought of. A punishment is only the smallest solace one can find. The solution to this lies in the early upbringing at home, school, and the one that is naturally rendered by peers. Be safe and take a few preemptive measures to ensure that you can enjoy life without constantly living under the fear of being harmed and scared for life.