On September 5th, 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the most recent National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The summary results are extremely disturbing:
- Nearly 1 in 5 women (19.3%) of women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.
- Nearly 80% indicated that they were first raped before the age of 25
- One in 6 women (15.2%) have been stalked during their lifetime
- Approximately 1.9 million women were raped during the year preceding the survey.
- One in 4 women (22.3%) have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Campus safety is even more astonishing.
- In a survey of male college students, 35% anonymously admitted that, under certain circumstances, they would commit rape if they believed they could get away with it
- Based on statistics, 85% of rapes go unreported, only 1.5% of rapes result in a trial, and only 0.6% of rapes (1-in-167) result in a conviction at trial
While it is important to educate people, especially women, about the dangers of sexual and domestic violence, is it enough?
In an effort to help, several companies have developed unique wearable security devices that offer real-time notifications with the touch of a button rather than fumbling with a phone that could be easily yanked out of your hand and tossed away. Developers say these fashionable devices could be a lifesaver for any woman – professionals who travel alone, those who jog in the early morning or late evening, and college students who walk alone on campus.
Stiletto by Secure Couture is a personal security device disguised as jewelry. When under threat, Stiletto allows its wearer to send emergency messages to family, friends, and law enforcement without delay but simply pressing a button that looks like a semi-precious stone.
The Stiletto is not designed to track you but to deliver emergency information to your contacts. It has voice assistance, microphone, instant 911, audio alerts, vibration, WiFi assisted indoor location, and Bluetooth support.
The SIREN ring features a large stone that you can twist to let off a painful piercing noise. It is meant to ward off an attacker or call attention to you when you are in trouble. While the alarm is audible from more than 50 feet away, SIREN is specifically designed to repel a close and aggressive threat, not to alert distant assistance. It is acoustically designed to project sound outward and away from the wearer through the apertures (holes) along the top of the ring.
Athena safety jewelry by Roar For Good is a circular wearable that can clip on a woman’s bra strap, belt, or shirt, or be worn as a necklace, with an alarm, light, and connected smartphone app. When the button is pressed, Athena emits a loud alarm and sends the user’s location to a list of designated emergency contacts. The button’s settings can also be changed so that only alert messages are distributed without triggering the alarm. The Roar app can also tie into Google Maps API to find your location and how long your trip will be depending on if you are walking, biking, or on public transit. It starts a countdown timer, and if you aren’t within the GPS location within that timeframe, it sends a text to your emergency contacts listed. An optional feature allows someone to watch over you, and basically follow your dot until you arrive safely at your destination.
How much technology people are willing to wear has yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure – you can’t depend on technology to keep you safe. There is still no substitute for common sense when it comes to safety; always be aware of your surroundings and avoid traveling alone as much as possible.
Would you consider any of these gadgets an added layer of security to keep you and your loved ones safe?
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.