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3 women at BYU have created an app they hope will protect others from sexual violence

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April Teames Gantz, Sava head of design and co-founder, Meredith Von Feldt, Sava chief technical officer and co-founder, and Carolyn Allen, Sava chief government officer and co-founder, pose for a portrait at The Startup Constructing, a co-working area they use, in Provo on Friday. Their app Sava goals to creating courting safer. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO — For chief expertise officer Meredith Von Feldt, the story of Sava begins with a roommate texting system.

“My roommates and I’ve this emoji system, like a code phrase system, the place when somebody sends a sure emoji it means they’re in an uncomfortable state of affairs and need assistance getting out,” Von Feldt mentioned.

Little did she know that this method would develop into the premise for an utility that’s geared toward stopping sexual assault and on-line hazard.

Von Feldt finally met Carolyn Allen, who would develop into Sava’s CEO, and co-founder April Gantz within the BYU Sandbox Startup program the place college students are put into teams to resolve issues. As they teamed up they determined to create one thing that might assist assist within the aftercare of sexual assault and courting violence.

As they set to work, they realized they might assist fill a void within the problem that hadn’t been addressed for a while.

The creation

They started assembly with main researchers on sexual assault equivalent to BYU’s Julie Valentine, regulation enforcement officers and Title IX administrators. These conversations shortly put an emphasis on the pressing want for assault prevention.

“As we have been speaking with researchers and specialists we have been suggested to truly go extra into the prevention facet as a result of there may be extra of a necessity in that space,” Allen mentioned.

Analysis by the Rape, Abuse & Incest Nationwide Community, or RAINN, discovered that 1 in each 6 American ladies and about 3% of American males have been the sufferer of an tried or accomplished rape. Sava’s objective is to assist make this statistic not so widespread.

April Teames Gantz, Sava head of design and co-founder, shows the Sava app, which aims to make dating safer, at The Startup Building in Provo on Friday.
April Teames Gantz, Sava head of design and co-founder, exhibits the Sava app, which goals to make courting safer, at The Startup Constructing in Provo on Friday. (Photograph: Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

For a texting code phrase system to work there must be somebody actively ready on the opposite finish, however typically there is not somebody obtainable to be on name. When that occurs, Sava is there to assist.

“We realized that we might automate this in an utility in order that you do not have to depend on somebody and that this might assist those that have nobody round,” Von Feldt mentioned.

One widespread query these college students hear: “Why cannot folks simply go away an uncomfortable state of affairs?” Analysis has proven that this is not a straightforward reply, particularly for younger individuals who make up a majority of sexual assault victims.

RAINN’s analysis decided that almost all of sexual assault victims are beneath the age of 30, making up about 69% of the sexual assaults victims in America.

“We’ve observed that many people have a troublesome time leaving these uncomfortable situations and wish help to assist them know that they’ll get out safely,” Allen mentioned.

April Teames Gantz, Sava head of design and co-founder, shows the Sava app, which aims to make dating safer, at The Startup Building in Provo on Friday.
April Teames Gantz, Sava head of design and co-founder, exhibits the Sava app, which goals to make courting safer, at The Startup Constructing in Provo on Friday. (Photograph: Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

What the app does

The app at the moment affords choices to ship your self a faux textual content or name, name the police or have the app notify beforehand designated contacts. The faux calls and texts give customers causes to go away a state of affairs they really feel uncomfortable in with additional measures if the state of affairs escalates.

“Some people haven’t got the social capital to have a fast exit technique with somebody that they know as a result of they is likely to be in a brand new metropolis or they do not have dependable mates. We wish to give these weak populations the help system they want,” Allen mentioned.

Analysis revealed by the Sage Journal in 2018 discovered that as using expertise has grown, so has the development of sexual violence through technology.

“This want is nice particularly in on-line courting and even on-line pal meet ups. There was a big enhance of sexual assault charges with the rise of expertise use,” Allen mentioned.

Name to motion

The app was first designed for courting conditions, however the college students hope to broaden it to develop into a instrument for a wide range of security considerations.

“We started with the use case of courting however this app can and must be utilized to plenty of totally different conditions. Whether or not you’re assembly up with an internet pal you do not know nicely, going to the fitness center, and even along with your neighbor, this app might help,” Gantz mentioned.

From right here, they wish to take the applying and make it extra user-friendly by curating the software program to be extra private with every consumer’s distinctive state of affairs.

“We’re working to make our cellphone calls and textual content prompts extra customizable for the consumer. We are also wanting into making a part of the app an interactive instructional instrument that helps folks perceive consent, on-line security, the right way to discover purple and inexperienced flags in relationships and extra,” Gantz mentioned.

For now, the objective is to get the app into as many arms as doable.

“We won’t stop all sexual assaults regardless that we want we might. We hope anybody studying this might help unfold the phrase so we will begin making a much bigger influence. Whether or not it’s in your college, enterprise or social circles, this can be a nice useful resource for folks to make use of,” Allen mentioned.

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