Circle of Six—Taking a Stand Against Sexual Assault Through Social Media
By Christiana Paradis
Ever been on a date that just won’t end, but you didn’t have a car or weren’t sure how to get away? More seriously, have you ever been in a situation where you felt unsafe and needed to get away quickly? Then the “Circle of Six” App is right for…everyone! Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, a new innovative app entitled “Circle of 6” has recently been released. Each user that downloads the app has the opportunity to add six contacts from their Address Book to create a “Circle of 6” supporters. The app then contains three icons. There is an icon of a car, a phone, a chat, or an exclamation point. Depending on your situation, you can use one of these icons to quickly get information out to your “Circle of 6.”
For instance, after selecting a contact, you can hit the “car icon” and an automated message will be sent out that states “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.” The app will also send out a map using GPS to show your circle where you are.
The phone icon sends out an automated message stating, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.” The chat icon sends out a message that states, “I’m looking up information about healthy relationship and respect. Just letting you know.” When this happens links to the pages loveisrespect.org and whereisyourline.org are sent, which are both useful websites to gain valuable information regarding healthy relationships. Lastly, the exclamation point is pre-programmed for national abuse hotlines and a local number that the user can customize.
This amazing app could help countless young women and men get out of anything from uncomfortable dating situations to emergencies. I know personally when I tried to appeal to the dean of my undergraduate university to make us a Blue Light Campus (which means emergency phones are available around campus, and are well lit); I was informed that it was a “waste of money” because everyone has cell phones now. I continually argued that cell phones did not necessarily mean safety. I questioned what if you can’t reach people, who’s the best person to call? What if you don’t have time to scan through countless contacts figuring out who to call or text quickly? This app has streamlined this process and is making not only college campuses, but anywhere in the world a safer place.
This app was developed by Deb Levine, the founder and executive director of ISIS, a non-profit organization using social and mobile media for sexual and reproductive health and the development of healthy relationships; Nancy Schwartzman the founder and executive director of The Line Campaign, Inc.; Thomas Cabus, an art director, graphic designer and photographer; and Christine Corbett Moran, an engineer, artist, CEO and co-founder of Kliq. This app truly is amazing and does exactly what it sets out to do: “prevents violence before it happens.” I encourage everyone who has smart phone technology to download this app because you never know when you will be in a situation in which you need to get out of quickly and safely.