Defense Against Violence At Your Fingertips In New App

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With one in five college women experiencing sexual assault, 'Circle of 6' app developers saw the need for innovative prevention methods.

A step-by-step guide to using the Circle of 6

Photo: Circle of 6

Circle of 6 makes it easy to ask friends for a ride home when you're in a threatening situation. The app also enables you to ask for a distracting phone call, contact a hotline and more.

Most of us would do anything to keep our friends out of harm’s way. But how often are we in the right place at the right time? College students have a new tool for preventing violence in “Circle of 6,” a free app allowing users to seek help from people who care about them.

A winner of the White House Apps Against Abuse Challenge, Circle of 6 makes it easy to message friends when you’re feeling threatened. Enter six contacts into your phone and connect to them discreetly using the coded icon buttons. If you find yourself alone in an unfamiliar area during a night out or need to get out of someone’s house, Circle of 6 can text your friends your exact location and ask them to come get you.

Sexual violence can take the form of verbal harassment or happen as a result of intimidating dialogue. If you’re on a bad date or stuck in some other uncomfortable conversation, the app can alert your Circle that you need a phone-call interruption. As noted in IU Newsroom’s “Sexual Assault and College Students” tip sheet, you don’t need to be polite to someone who you perceive to be threatening. The app also allows you to quickly ask your Circle for advice or dial a local hotline.

One out of every five women is sexually assaulted in college, and the state of Indiana is second in the nation for forced sexual intercourse among high school women. And women aren’t the only people who experience sexual assault. Circle of 6 not only gives people access to immediate support in threatening moments, its designers hope it will inspire conversation about the role of community in preventing sexual violence.

From city streets to Congressional hearings to iPhones, the struggle to end sexual assault depends on consciousness-raising in every possible venue. Until the violence stops, Circle of 6 is an excellent first-line of defense against coercive encounters.

Download the FREE Circle of 6 app here.

Rosalyn Sternberg

is an intern at the Kinsey Institute and a contributor to Kinsey Confidential. She is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley with a major in Gender and Women's Studies.
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