Wearable Technology Contributing to the Sexual Assault Awareness Conversation

Sexual Violence is a crime of power and control. It affects people of all ages, genders and cultures. April is dubbed Sexual Assault Awareness Month - an observance that serves to build momentum around the conversation of rape culture and those being affected by shocking statistics. It’s a month that celebrates survivors while working to use education as a tool for prevention.

While harassers and victims are both men and women, victims are predominantly women. Of the 12,510 charges of sexual harassment received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2007, 84% were filed by women. A study by the National Victim Center finds that 1.3 women (age 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 an hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.

Revolar and ROAR for Good are just two companies looking to slash these statistics with wearable technology. Both companies were founded by women ready to disrupt the pattern of rape culture and change the way people keep themselves and those they love safe.

ROAR for Good built Athena as a simple device with a big mission: to protect women with the touch of a button. The coin-sized discreet device emits a loud alarm and sends your location to friends and family during an emergency. It’s GPS-enabled, rain and splash-proof to make it easy to tag along with you during exercise or while on a vacation.

How does it work? A recessed button, to prevent accidental presses, is held down for 3 seconds to emit a loud alarm and simultaneously text your location to pre-selected friends or family. Your loved ones can then opt to give you a call or get 911 on the line. The alarm can serve as a deterrent to an attacker, but Athena also has a SilentROAR™ option if you’d rather hide your alert from them. All messages and help alerts are sent without the invasive alarm. You can clip it to your clothing, bags or wear as a necklace.

Philadelphia-based entrepreneur Yasmine Mustafa created Athena after personal realizations of the urgency to protect women from sexual assault. She returned from a solo trip across South America, during which she was repeatedly warned of the risks of a young woman traveling alone, only to find someone had been assaulted in her neighborhood. Since then, she paired with co-founder Anthony Gold to launch their startup to help empower women.

Athena’s Indiegogo campaign was recently 667 percent funded - with more than $300 thousand raised to get it to market. 10 percent of proceeds from their campaign were allocated to raising awareness about the warning signs of abuse and helping end relationship violence. You can now pre-order the device at $79.99 and expect it in the mailbox this Fall. Available in black, rose gold and silver.

Revolar was born out of a passion to keep our loved ones safe in a smart, modern way. Founder and CEO Jacqueline Ros created Revolar out of love for her little sister who was assaulted as a teenager. Jacqueline found herself wishing her sister had been able to simply press a button to call for help, so that’s exactly what she built. Jacqueline and her team are a dedicated group of allies and survivors, who are all committed to building safety technology to empower people to keep themselves and those they love safe.

Similar to Athena, Revolar uses a discrete button to signal a personal emergency alert to loved ones via text message or e-mail. Emergency contacts are then provided with a web link that provides them with alert severity level (yellow or red), up-to-date location information, and path traversed since the alert was triggered. Their battery lasts up to year and the device itself is waterproof, which means you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain or using it near the water.

The startup recently raised $3 million from The Foundry Group which is also a backer to Fitbit. Revolar plans to build other wearable devices for use in fields such as solo running and travel, and adding features to Revolar itself. It’s available at www.revolar.com for $99. Their Give One Get One campaign asks for $119 to send you a Revolar and donate one to a woman in a domestic violence shelter on your behalf.

There have been overwhelmingly positive responses to wearables like Athena and Revolar, as well as other gadgets in the market seeking to prevent sexual assault. While these short-term strategies do not reach the core of the problem, they arm men and women with tools do defend themselves against becoming another number.

April is a month for action, but innovations like these are helping to push the conversation further and closer to positive, sustainable change on rape culture. They’re making safety “as easy as pressing a button,” because it is pressing a button.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, please visit: www.notalone.gov for resources or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE.

Millennials Are The Future Of The GOP

Co-authored by Stefano CavallaroYoung Professional, Millennial Conservative

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These recent weeks have been rough for the GOP. A casual scroll through one’s Facebook newsfeed gives the impression that the GOP perished a slow inevitable death, and all hope is as lost as Kim Kardashian’s earrings in the ocean.

The most recent Super Tuesday is a call to action for conservatives of this country, particularly millennial conservatives. Some argue that the current majority of leaders from the GOP have let down conservatives, our generation, and this country. Despite the flaws of today’s status of government, millennials are perfectly geared to tackle our country’s challenges.

Despite the fact that most of our friends, politics gurus and media personalities are bewildered by who won the GOP nomination process, the stubborn fact exists that Donald Trump won more votes than any other candidate. We cannot ignore the fact that the middle class in this country feels so left out of the political process that they were willing to accept anyone who talked about their issues, even if that person behaves in a way as bizarre as Kanye West’s Twitter timeline.

However if you look at the numbers, support has been mixed and millennials aren’t fooled by his antics. The general lack of enthusiasm for D. Trump was evident at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). An NBC News survey shows that in a Clinton vs. Trump matchup, millennials give Clinton the biggest marginal lead. Young conservative Americans are not looking forward to the era of The Donald. 

Today’s world is becoming increasingly more complex, as is everyday life for Generation Y-ers. We spend the day Snapchatting, texting, and Instagram scrolling, all the while becoming more efficient at our jobs, and demanding transparency in each of our environments. Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S., and are quickly taking over the workforce from Generation X.

We see through pitches in the Internet age, and are directly focused on value and message. We grew up differentiating between talking heads and gatekeepers, all while being able to take politicians’ opinions with a grain of salt until we could fact check it on Twitter or Google.

Today may be “the dark ages” for the GOP, but that’s because the conservative movement needs new life and passion. Young conservatives are focused on building an economy where individuals have satisfying and worthwhile jobs, not just focused on a politically convenient unemployment rate. We believe that education is a right, not a privilege, but that some of these rights are more efficiently run on a state rather than national level.

We strive to see each individual’s unique beliefs, expressions of love, and personal choices celebrated as we view them, and not manipulated to spark hatred in social policy debates. We reject the obstructionist tendencies we see from some of today’s GOP leaders, and we believe in igniting a conservative revolution through expressing strong views without a fear of comprising.

We are more connected to each other from growing up in the age of Social Media, and we strive to lead the government and our communities to advance all Americans, regardless of race, social class, or identity. We dream of a country united by common nationality, and we reject those who seek to separate us by our differences.

Young people are generally more progressive and accepting to social change than generations past, but conservatism will not fade. Millennial conservatives and our passion are what is needed to save the Conservative movement that is so deeply rooted in values and American exceptionalism.

What must happen now, is that more young people get off their laptops, open a window in their growing schedules, and go out into the community and make a difference. Become more informed, take a stand in your beliefs and engage in civil discussions based on research, reflection and insight. The time to wait for our time has come and gone. The country needs us, and it is our time to lead.


About the co-authorStefano J. Cavallaro graduated from the Florida State University with a B.S. in Accounting & Political Science in 2015. He currently works in public accounting and resides in Tallahassee, Fla.

As an undergraduate at FSU, Stefano served as Student Body President and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He was also elected by his fellow student body presidents to serve as Chairman of the Florida Student Association. In this role he represented the over 330,000 students in the State University System and served as a member of the Florida Board of Governors. He was a finalist for a national Truman Scholarship.

Stefano enjoys a good book, golfing, and the outdoors. He donates his time to Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida and the FSU College of Business Recent Alumni Board.