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App Review: For Coeds and Cadets

The pros and cons of two new apps aimed to help keep you safe

  • June 30, 2017
  • By domesticshelters.org
App Review: For Coeds and Cadets

It’s women between the ages of 20 and 24 who are most likely to be abused by an intimate partner. And where can women in this age group often be found? In school or the military.

Below, two apps young women can use to stay safe, whether as a co-ed or a cadet.

Reach Out

This app, developed by Capptivation, helps student survivors of sexual assault understand their options and acts as a guide on what to do after an attack. It takes the guesswork out of documenting and reporting an incident as all the resources are tailored to the users’ educational institution.

Once you download the free app, you’ll select your college, university, graduate or trade school (secondary schools are being added, too). In the seconds it takes your school to load, the personalized app will offer direct connections to local resources, including campus police, victim advocates, nearby health services and more. You’ll even see a direct phone number, email address and office hours for your school’s Title IX coordinator should you wish to take interim measures such as getting a no-contact order, changing housing arrangements or understanding your academic options.

Pros: For an app still in its infancy (version 1.0 was released in June 2016), Reach Out offers a shockingly robust list of educational institutions. And there’s no registration required, so users can stay anonymous.

Cons: While the app icon doesn’t scream “sexual assault” or “dating violence,” it would be easy for an abuser who monitors your mobile device to figure out what its purpose is. It also doesn’t offer any evidence management tools aside from advice on preserving evidence.

Cost: Free

DOD Safe Helpline

Commissioned by the Department of Defense, this app is geared specifically for sexual assault survivors in the military. The app lets users create customized self-care plans that include relaxation exercises and visualization techniques. It also aims to educate members of the military on what sexual assault is and what you can do if it happens to you.

A chat features allow users to connect with other service members who may be experiencing similar feelings. Or, talk directly with a Safe Helpline counselor at any time. Calls made through the app are free and can be made from anywhere in the world you’re stationed.

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Pros: The content and resources are specific to military members and address the unique challenges of sexual assault in the service. Once downloaded, the app can be accessed from any smartphone even when no connectivity is available. Users can remain anonymous.

Cons: The app isn’t as robust as it could be. The content on sexual assault prevention is disappointing and hints at victim-blaming. And while users needn’t register, if the app is accessed on a DOD device, remember, all activity is subject to monitoring.

Cost: Free

Want to see more ways technology can help survivors stay safe? Check out these other domestic violence apps we reviewed.