Help is a button away

Help is a button away

The furore that took over the country after the brutal and fatal rape of a young woman in Delhi has not died down thankfully, contrary to what many people predicted. In the wake of the incident men and women have risen up in arms against any slander against women-kind and every measure is being taken to ensure that such a crime does not go unpardoned and more importantly – isn’t repeated.
One of the more positive outcomes of this heinous incident – apart from uniting the country and indeed, women across the world – is the highlighting of certain applications for mobile phones which can aid a woman in distress. These apps have been around for sometime and were developed to help college students who worked or studied late in campuses. Now, however, their universal appeal is being realised. These I-phone and Android apps allow a woman to quickly send information regarding her location and distress signals to her friends.
If you are a woman who works late or returns home late for any reason, it would be wise to download these mostly free apps onto your phone – and pray you never have to use them. They all work on the same premise – they send your location details to your family and friends – previously chosen contacts.
FightBack: This is an India specific, paid application that works on all smart phones and is available at the Nokia Store. This app uses GPS, SMS location maps, email, GPRS and Facebook to inform your family and friends about your whereabouts. When you press the designated ‘Panic’ button, the portal alerts page gets updates and this update shows on your FaceBook page and Google Maps with an SOS message.
Circle of 6: This is an app designed for the I-phone and if you are a woman, you should download it immediately – it is free, and extremely useful. What you do is this – you choose 6 trusted contacts and enter their contact details into the application. When in distress, the a mere tap on the screen will send one of three predetermined messages to all six contacts, including details of your location and a request for a phone call from you. It is also available for Android phones now.
Guardly: Available for I-Phone, Android and Windows & phones, this app also lets you convey your location to your family members with one tap. It places a phone call to your contacts with exact location, date and even type of emergency; there is a function which lets you specify different contacts for different emergencies such as for ‘Stroke’ or ‘Walking home alone’.
bSafe: The original idea was created by a mother who wanted to use technology to keep her kids safe. This app is free for Android, Blackberry, Tablets and iOs phones. Working on a GPS based technology, this app sends an emergency SOS message to previously chosen mobile numbers and also allows selected friends to follow you thanks to a GPS locator and tracing mechanism. Any one of 3 previously programmed ‘Guardian’ numbers will also receive a phone call – you can choose unlimited numbers for the text to be sent to. This is especially helpful as sometimes a text might not be seen immediately and a phone call is far more effective – especially in a situation where every nanosecond matters. All you have to do is press a large red button on the app in times of distress. You can also program a ‘Fake Incoming Call’ application with six options for when the call should be initiated – in 5 minutes, 10 minutes – etc. There are also subscription versions of this app which provide extra safety measures.
Hollaback: Available for Android and I-phone users, users of this app can choose to take a photograph of anyone who is harassing them, and the photo will be uploaded and the person mapped on ihollaback.org. Hollaback encourages users to submit photographs and stories of crimes at every level – from catcalling and eve teasing to groping to flashing and indecent conduct, and works on the premise that street crime provides the gateway for gender based violence and this is simply not ok.
Life 360 degrees Family Locator: Free for Android, this app is very useful because it savs your commonly visited locations and keeps you informed about the sex offenders and crime reports in your neighbourhood. It also sends the sms alert and GPS location to your family members when activated – like the other apps.
So there you go. Download these apps onto your phones pronto because you never know when you might need them. Of course also have your trusted contacts on speed dial and be mindful to click photographs using your phone camera when you see any crime being committed – against women or otherwise. Help make your surroundings safer but in that effort, make sure your safety is your topmost priority.

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