Violence against women is an extremely serious problem, and it leaves many asking the question, “What can we do about it?”
According to the Boston Globe, a study of New England’s largest colleges found a 40% increase in “forcible sex offenses” between 2012 and 2013. This seems to indicate that the problem is getting worse, not better.
But fortunately — like the mom who invented cool hearing aids for her deaf son — there are amazing people out there who are focused on working towards solutions, like Yasmine Mustafa and Anthony Gold.
Together, they have created ROAR, a company set out to fight violence against women. Their first mission? To create an emergency alert device to fend off attackers.
Known as Athena, this device can be worn as fashionable jewelry, but it’s certainly more than meets the eye. Named for the Greek goddess of justice, strength, wisdom, and courage, Athena “helps empower women to live their lives boldly, without fear.”
LittleThings conducted an exclusive interview with co-founder and CEO of ROAR, Yasmine Mustafa. Her work is vitally important, and her device is an absolutely brilliant way for women to try to stop a violent attack.
Would you ever wear the Athena? Be sure to watch the video below to learn more, then let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Co-founder and CEO of ROAR, Yasmine Mustafa, told LittleThings, "We developed Athena to help shift the focus from fear to empowerment. It's not a safety device; it's a symbol of internalized confidence."
So how exactly does Athena work? A woman can activate Athena by holding down the button for 3 seconds. A loud alarm will immediately emit from the device.
Text messages will then be sent to loved ones with the woman's location.
Her emergency contacts are also sent a link with a distress signal and her current location. Friends and family then have the option to call 911 at the press of a button or to call their loved one directly.
When asked what message she was hoping to spread, Yasmine said, "The stats are horrifying, and violence against women has been declared an epidemic. Sexual assaults, harassment, and inequality aren't 'women's issues.' They're societal issues. And as a society, we need to ask ourselves, 'Is this the best we can do?' "
Yasmine said, "When it came time to select the name... Athena was a no-brainer." After all, she said, Athena was "the Greek goddess of courage, wisdom, and strength."
Yasmine said, "We would recommend Athena to girls from middle school up — anyone in an urban environment, a college campus, those who work late at night, travel a lot, and/or feel unsafe walking at night."
She hopes that Athena will help curb violence against women in the short-term, while long-term efforts are being made to address it as a larger issue. Yasmine told LittleThings, "We believe that women should not need to alter their lifestyle, modify their behavior, or carry self-defense devices to protect themselves. And our goal is to help create a society where that is a reality."
Yasmine and ROAR are also pairing with programs to educate the young, in an effort to curb violence against women. "We formed ROAR with this exclusive focus: to empower women, reduce assaults, and transform society. Education is a crucial piece of the equation, as are peer-driven role modeling and bystander empowerment."
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