A new mobile phone application developed in part by a board member of Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute aims to prevent sexual assault.
After downloading the Circle of 6 app, users can identify six of their closest friends that they would want to contact if they need help. After selecting those people, the user can hit a single button, notifying those six people that they are in trouble. It also provides the user’s location using GPS.
“If you look at the interface, it’s purple, it’s easy to use, it very much fits into the lifestyle of youth and young adults today,” says Deb Levine, a board member of the Kinsey Institute, as she demonstrates the app.
Levine is also the founder and executive director of ISIS, a non-profit organization which uses social media and mobile technology to advance sexual health and prevent disease. She says the app was created to prevent sexual assault and dating violence on college campuses.
Levine says 1 in 6 women is sexually assaulted. IU freshman Mary Wildeman says the app could help reduce that number.
“I think people my age would be interested in using an app like that because it’s more casual, and it doesn’t feel like they’re screaming for help in the middle of a crowd,” Wildeman says.
Circle of 6 won a challenge organized by the White House and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department called “Apps Against Abuse,” a program aimed at using electronic devices to curb abuse and violence.