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Safe Apps

Ten years ago, it was difficult to communicate to let family and friends know that you were safe. It was even more difficult to let them know you were in a unsafe situation. Now, we all have cell phones with GPS locators. This recent technology provides a safety net for cell phone users. The are multiple apps that provide ways to communicate with authorities, family and friends in emergencies or sketchy situations. Below are a few apps that are great additions to your current apps.

Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me greets you with a screen that presents two statements, ‘Watch Over Me While I…’ and ‘For…’, followed by two buttons. For each statement you fill in an action (‘walk home’, ‘walk to my car’, ‘take a cab’, ‘meet someone’, or add a new event), and a time frame . Once you’ve selected these specifics and tapped the ‘Watch Over Me’ button, the app takes you to a countdown screen with a round button to tap to confirm your safety, and a square button below it to tap to extend the watch session. If you don’t confirm your safety by the time the counter hits zero, the app contacts your previously designated friends (via SMS, email, or even Facebook) with your GPS location. Two other buttons remain constant throughout the app: the Instant Emergency Alert button, and a banner at the top that you can tap to unlock all the app’s features.

bSafe

bSafe has some of the same features as Watch Over Me—for instance, it allows you to add contacts (it calls them Guardians) who can follow you when you’re on your way home. Like the other apps, it has an SOS button that will set off an alert to your Guardians, with your GPS location. Once you’ve registered with bSafe, the app asks you to select Guardians from your contacts list. You’ll need to have at least one contact that can be reached via telephone; other Guardians can be accessible via text message or a combination of the two.  If you’re in danger, hit the red SOS button, and the app sounds an alarm, sets off a bright light on your phone, texts your location to your contacts, and calls a Guardian.

Circle of 6

The design is simple. It takes two touches to get help, so no fumbling or digging around for the right number. The design ensures safety, speed and privacy. GPS is integrated (using Google maps), and is only activated by you, and sent to your own Circle of 6. It uses icons to represent actions, so that no one can tell what you’re up to if they see your phone.

1. Car icon: Come and get me. SMS message reads, “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…”

2. Phone icon: Call me. SMS message reads, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”

3. Chat icon: I need some advice. SMS message reads, “I’m looking for information, just letting you know.” This will link the user with risk-assessment tools and information about healthy vs. abusive relationships developed by content partners.

The Great “8” Spring Break Safety Tips

The Spring Break season is steadily approaching. This is the time where teens and family do lots of travelling. It is important for Spring Breakers to use caution and discretion when visiting different cities. Below are a list of tips provided to assist travelers to their vacation and back in the safest way possible.

  1.  Never leave valuables in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
  2. Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, put this information in your phone to be extra sure you have it.
  3. All genuine taxis will have some sort of ID or badge. Check for this before accepting a ride.
  4. If you ever feel unsafe, it is completely within your rights to abandon a taxi or any other ride service at a safe stop. Leave money behind on the seat and get out of there if you don’t feel safe.
  5. Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
  6. When entering in your pin number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be a camera capturing what you type.
  7. When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number out loud for anyone in the lobby to hear. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
  8. Always keep an eye on your drink. If you go the bathroom, take your drink with you! Date rape drugs can be put into any drink, including non-alcoholic drinks. It is also important to remember that while drugs being slipped into drinks is something you should be aware of and guard against, alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. In a 2007 study by the National Institute of Health, it was reported that 89% of female undergrad sexual assault survivors reported drinking before their assault. No survivor is to blame for their assault, but the links between alcohol and victimization are staggering and cannot be ignored.

911 Fails to Locate GPS Signal

On a clear afternoon, Shanell Anderson delivered newspapers in Cherokee, GA, a few miles from Fulton county. Shanell’s car ran off the road into a lake. Unfortunately, Shanell became trapped in her car, so she called 911 from her cell phone for help. She told the 911 dispatcher exactly where she was, including the lake name and the streets intersecting. With all of the information Shanell gave, the dispatcher was unable to locate her coordinates. It took the police 19 minutes to locate the pond and an additional 29 minutes to find Shantell’s car where she laid unconscious.

I’m sure you are wondering why the police were not able to locate Shanell quicker. 911 uses a computer aided dispatch called GIS (Geographic Information System). GIS stops at city lines, which is why the dispatcher was unable to locate Shanell. Even though Shanell was not in Alpharetta county, her cell phone signal was sent there. This disabled Alpharetta county’s map ability.

It is important to know that cell phones don’t transmit GPS signals to dispatchers, they have to extract the GPS signal from the cell phone. The Senate and Congress are progressively working to improve this defect. It is also import that we are always conscious of our location and close landmarks, so if this situation was to arise we will be able to provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible.

 

How to: Travel Safely

Travelling is an amazing experience and allows people to venture outside of their comfort zones. Though it can be a great way to experience life, women must be very careful when travelling nationally and abroad, especially when alone.

Here are a few tips for women who enjoy travelling:

  • Plan housing and transportation before leaving for your destination. Try to book your tickets in advance as possible to get the cheapest rates.
  • When taking the train, avoid sleeping in empty compartments. You’re safer sharing a compartment with a family or group of friends. If available, rent a couchette for overnight trains. For a small charge, you may be able to stay with like-minded roommates in a compartment that you can lock, in a car monitored by an attendant.
  • Take your cue on how to dress from local women. Never be overly polite if you’re bothered by certain men and always create boundaries to protect yourself from potential threats. Use appropriate facial expressions, body language and a loud firm voice to fend off any unwanted attention.
  • When you use cash machines, withdraw cash during the day on a busy street, not at night when it’s dark with few people around.
  • Avoid going down small, dark alleys and play it safe while navigating. If your gut feeling tells you that a certain route might be dangerous, consider an alternative.
  • Walk purposefully with your head up; look like you know where you’re going. If you get lost in a sketchy neighborhood then be savvy about whom you ask for help; seek out another women or go into a store or restaurant to ask for directions.

Most importantly, ALWAYS be AWARE of your surroundings!

January- Human Sex Trafficking Month

Generally viewed as a problem only in Third World countries, sex trafficking is destroying the lives of men, women, and children all across the United States. It is happening in OUR backyard. Let’s be clear, Human Trafficking is not the same as prostitution and not only girls are affected; boys are in high demand also.

 

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED:

 
– Vulnerable people are trafficked in the commercial sex trade and labor industry every day in America.
– In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline received multiple reports of human trafficking cases in each of the 50 states and D.C
– More than 18,000 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the NHTRC hotline in the last eight years. The hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day.
– The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. 5.5 million of those are children. 14.2 million of those are victims of labor exploitation.
– In 2014, the International Labor Organization estimated that forced labor generates $150 billion in profits a year worldwide.
– In 2013, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenwere likely child sex trafficking victims. Of those, 67 percent were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.

 

According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

 

The FBI reports that the average age that a girl is first recruited into prostitution or sex trafficking in the U.S. is 11-14 years-old. Her life span at that point becomes 7 years, due to the risk of overdose, STDs, suicide, and homicide. The FBI has also indicated that Atlanta is among the worst cities in the country for sex trafficking. According to FBI statistics, Atlanta ranks among the top 14 cities in the United States for domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Over 300 girls across Atlanta are lured into trafficking every month.

 

But there is hope! Atlanta is also regarded as one of the cities having the most coordinated response to trafficking. If you want to get involved as an advocate to stop these heinous CRIMES, contact Street Grace at http://www.streetgrace.org.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained NHTRC Call Specialist. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. We are here to listen and connect you with the help you need to stay safe.

You can also email at nhtrc@polarisproject.org.

To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

All communication with the hotline is strictly confidential.

 

Additional Resources
Domestic Violence: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Sexual Abuse: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Suicide: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Dating Violence: National Dating Abuse Helpline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

Runaway and Homeless Youth: National Runaway Safeline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)

Missing Children and Child Pornography: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)

The Invisible War

[We’re] giving survivors for the first time a voice in the military justice process

– Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

The military reports that more women are willing to report sexual assaults. In a new anonymous survey, it is suggested victims are becoming far more willing to file complaints than in years past.

According to the Associated Press, 1 in every 4 victims filed a report this year, in sharp contrast to 2012, when only about 1 in every 10 military victims came forward.

Before the survey results were reported, The White House believed it would increase sexual abuse in the ranks and change a culture that forces victims to keep their mouths shut.

Now roughly 60 percent of women in the military said they experienced retaliation for reporting a sexual assault, according to the new report.

The Defense Department conducted their last anonymous report in 2012 and found about 26,000 services members said they had been the victim of unwanted sexual contact — a number that stunned officials and outraged lawmakers, triggering a barrage of congressional hearings and legislative changes.

The officials said there were nearly 6,000 victims of reported assaults in 2014, compared with just over 5,500 last year. The Pentagon changed its method of accounting for the assaults this year, and now each victim counts for one report. This year, that number dropped to about 19,000 — including about 10,500 men and 8,500 women — which officials said suggested that there was a trend of sexual assaults declining.

Signs That You’re In An Abusive Relationship

Could you be in an abusive relationship and not know it? According to the Huffington Post, nearly 60 percent of all young women have experienced abuse. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, reach out. There is help available.

The Divas In Defense Team wanted to take time out of our jolly – jolly holiday ask these questions:

Do you feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
Does your partner humiliate or yell at you?
Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
Criticize you and put you down?
Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
Blame you for their own abusive behavior?
Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Does your partner:
Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
Does your partner act excessively jealous and possessive?
Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
Control where you go or what you do?
Threaten to take your children away or harm them?
Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
Force you to have sex?
Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
Destroy your belongings?
Constantly check up on you?

Women don’t have to live in fear:
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

Male victims of abuse can call:
Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women at 888-743-5754

For More Information:
Helpguide.org

ATLANTA: BGR! HOSTS SELF DEFENSE TRAINING WITH DIVAS IN DEFENSE

The days are getting shorter and the holidays are just around the corner. Runner assaults and street harassment are on the rise.

What would you do if a stranger approached you from behind and grabbed you?

How would you defend yourself if you don’t carry mace?
Would you be able to get away?

We’re partnering with Divas in Defense to educate and empower you to stay safe! Divas in Defense empowers women of all ages with the training and tools imperative to their personal safety and the safety of their families. Through fun, instinctive learning, women gain the knowledge to protect and arm themselves while gaining to be Fierce & Fabulous.

We want to empower Black Girls RUN! members to stay safe on and off the pavement!

Our special Black Girls RUN! Divas of Defense course will teach you the following:

– Tips on runner safety (more than just running against traffic, running in groups, etc.)

– Proper defensive stances

– Defensive hand strikes, leg strikes, combinations, releases and breaks

– Overview of safety toys

Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Time: 1 pm EST
Location: 228 Powell Street SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

Please plan to arrive by 12:45pm to check in and sign a waiver. This will be an active indoor course, so please wear athletic/running clothing. The course will last 1 hour.

Due to the limited space of this session, the fee is non-refundable.
Please use street parking.

Learn more about Divas In Defense at http://divasindefense.com/

Written By Toni Carey

#YesAllDaughters

As most of the nation waited anxiously for the Ferguson indictment decision on Monday, three female students and many of their classmates walked out of their Oklahoma high school yesterday afternoon. We are not just talking about their friends but hundreds of students walked out with signs and chanted “ No Justice, no class” and “ No more bullying.”

The students were protesting the school’s response to allegations of bullying of the three female students and their unfortunate rape by the same person. As in any sexual assault cases we see it is extremely hard for the victim to speak up. So to have not only one but three girls who are just in high school speak up and stand their ground is amazing.

As the hashtag #YesAll Daughters gained attention, Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley has said the school was enlarging a task force to study the implementation of a “targeted, research-based sexual assault curriculum for students,” and that the school will continue to respond quickly to reports of sexual assault and bullying.

Of course this made me stop scrolling on my phone and read the entire article because I am someone’s daughter but this can also affect someone son. The thought of the school was not taking the allegations serious enough and the amount of online bullying that was allowed to go on for so long was outrageous. Many do not realize social media bullying is becoming present in the lives of our teenagers every day. If they are not the ones doing the cyber bullying they are the ones being bullied. It takes one tweet to change a person entire life.

While on winter break sign your Young Diva for Divas In Defense “On Her Own” Workshop December 20th, 2014:

“It’s On Us” To Stop Sexual Assault

Lately, it seems like every time I turn on any news station, there is another college fraternity being suspended for allegations of some type of sexual assault. Recently the University of Virginia has suspended all fraternities and parties associated with the fraternities following a Rolling Stone Magazine article that describes one student’s account of being gang raped and her annoyance with her school to hold her attackers responsible. President Teresa A. Sullivan wrote in a statement to the university community. “Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities.

How can we, the female society, willing fill out applications to our dream schools and most of the social clubs are on suspension or investigation for sexual assault. I wanted to know, what are college administrations and our governments doing to protect us on campus from sexual assaults?

Well here is the answer. The Obama Administration launched “It’s On Us” Public Awareness Campaign this year. This campaign has been formulated:

• To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
• To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
• To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
• To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

“It’s On Us” I believe is a pledge that all schools and colleges can implement to make a big difference on how the female student body.

When a victim can have the support of her school and that her allegations will not go unheard, that is already a strong unified campus that I would want to be apart of.

While on winter break sign your Young Diva for Divas In Defense “On Her Own” Workshop December 20th, 2014:

Take the “Its On Us” Pledge Here:
http://itsonus.org/#pledge_open

“UVA Suspends Fraternities after Report on Gang Rape Allegations.” CNN. Ralph Ellis, 23 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014

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