Can Two New Apps Help Women Avoid Sexual Assault?

The Obama administration has harnessed mobile technology to help combat sexual assault among young women.

Back in July, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the "Apps Against Abuse" challenge. Because women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most likely to be raped or sexually assaulted, Sebelius and her staff wanted to support the development of something to help those women via the handheld devices they use every day. Apps Against Abuse was a call to developers to come up with novel uses for mobile technology in the fight against sexual abuse. Yesterday, Sebelius announced the winning apps.

Circle of Six


The Circle of Six app works by allowing women to quickly access their six closest contacts in uncomfortable or unsafe situations. With just two taps of a finger, Circle of Six allows someone to tell the six people closest to them things like "Come and get me. I need help getting home safely" or "Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption." An emergency button automatically calls the Love Is Not Abuse help line.


Like Circle of Six, OnWatch allows users to reach out to emergency contacts quickly and easily, but with a few added bells and whistles. OnWatch has a special "campus security" button that allows college students direct access to campus police with two taps. If OnWatch users are in immediate danger, they can hit the "panic" button. Not only will that immediately dial 911, it will also send text messages and emails to your designated friend group letting them know you're in trouble and giving them your phone's GPS coordinates.

Both apps, which will be available in early 2012, are customizable to fit the needs of the user. And they'll both be free and potentially lifesaving, so if you own a smartphone, you really can't afford to not use them.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Lee J Haywood

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less