Sexual assault awareness

By on April 26, 2013

Various technology advances to assist emergency situations

With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, many organizations are helping educate the community about sexual assault, how it happens, how to avoid it, and how to recover.

Sexual assault is not something to joke about on a college campus, especially because it is in the heart of an emerging metropolitan city. Birmingham is a growing city and with more people, crime rates will respectively raise as well.

Verizon Wireless is playing a huge role in the preventing of sexual violence with their HopeLine program. Verizon is working with college campus philanthropic organizations, including UAB, in efforts to make the community aware of how helpful technology is during a crisis.

Verizon Wireless users can dial #HOPE to be automatically connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.The hotline will connect callers to counselors who are capable of walking the victim through the process of notifying police and working through the effects of the attack.

Local organizations, like the Crisis Center, take in rape victims and provide them with free aftercare. This includes a DNA test for evidence and counseling in group and individual settings.

Of course, the use of a phone to call 911, there are many other features that most smartphones are capable of. There is an app for that . . . The iOS app, the Attack Alarm SMS allows you to set emergency contacts so that when in the event of an emergency, you can notify those contacts of trouble and send an alarm. The alarm will distract the attacker, draw attention to the scene, and give the victim time to flee.

The SafeSnapp app is an option if the victim is unable to get a clear picture of their attacker during the event. The app is designed to use during an attack and takes three photos of the attacker and sends them directly to your email, a designated contact’s email, and the SafeSnapp database for the police to access.

Not only does the app provide photos of the attacker, but it also gives the time and GPS coordinates of the attack.

Approximately 25 percent of college women will experience a completed or attempted rape in their 4-year schooling career, which means that safety measures are a must. With Help Phone programs and campus escort services in place at UAB, the campus police department is making efforts to keep the university safe.

The UAB police department also has some very practical and helpful tips for safety while walking on campus and even tips for safe dating! Their number one tip is trust your instinct. If something does not feel right, then it probably is not the best situation to be in.

While walking on campus, they advise walking with someone else whenever possible. Always carry a cell phone of possible and walk in well-lit areas. Short cuts are not always the safest.

Sarah Stephenson
Staff Writer

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