Preventing sexual abuse; there's an app for that - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Preventing sexual abuse; there's an app for that

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Amy Russell is the director of nurses at Chattanooga's Rape Crisis Center. The women and men who show up in her office are often victims of sexual abuse. "Probably our largest demographic is late high school, college age, probably 17 to 25," says Russell.  

She says one in six women will be sexually assaulted sometime in her life, one in 33 men. "College age girls, it's more one to four, one to five. One in five will be sexually assaulted," says Russell.

"I've heard a few stories about that happening to some of my [sorority] sisters, and it's really sad to hear because it has been the direct incidents, when you think you know someone and then all the sudden, you know that night you get sexually abused," says University of Tennessee Chattanooga student, Chelsea Larkins.  "I feel that happens a lot more now."

However, when it comes to getting help college students may not always know where to go. "Um, no not really," says Larkins.  

"I have pepper spray on my key chain and I carry a Taser as well," says student Jordan White.  

A new app could change the way women reach out for help. It's called Circle of 6 and was co- created by an anti-violence advocate to help prevent sexual abuse.

"It's like the buddy system taken to a technological level," Russell says.

Besides access to the closest help hotlines, with just a finger tap you can send a message to your "circle" of friends to come get you or even ask them to interrupt your current conversation, whatever helps to get you out of a bad situation.

"That's a really good idea. I mean I'll probably download it when I get done talking to you," White says.   
"I'd do something like that," says Larkins.  

"We certainly support anything, technological or whatever that promotes awareness and that gives women a tool to help keep them safer," Russell says.

You can download the Circle of 6 app for free from the App Store.

The Rape Crisis Center on 8th street provides complete medical exams and counseling 24-7 for free. Their hotline number is 423-755-2700.

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