Dating violence and sexual assault are widespread problems among young women, with nearly 1 in 5 reporting assault while in college. With only two taps, Circle of 6 connects users threatened with possible sexual assault and abuse to a network of trusted friends, using GPS technology, anti-violence online resources, and a commitment to support each other.
Users of the app select six trusted friends—Circle of 6 provides tips on choosing them—to form a "circle." The app then allows you to send pre-programmed messages to your circle like "Come and get me. I need help getting home safely," and "Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption" with just two taps of your phone.
Circle of 6 was developed by mobile and women's health expert Deb Levine of Internet Sexuality Information Services and filmmaker and violence prevention specialist Nancy Schwartzman of the Where is Your Line? project. Says Schwartzman, "Circle of 6 is a tool that meets young people where they are and offers concrete strategies for supporting each other, whether safety threats are coming from intimate relationships or potentially dangerous social situations." Here's a video that demonstrates how the app works:
Of course this app is far from perfect—it doesn't make a direct connection to sexual assault prevention beyond providing hotline numbers, and I have a hard time imagining a college student (or anyone) sending a text message to friends that reads "I'm looking up information about healthy relationships and respect. Just letting you know." However, it does reinforce the notion that sexual assault and violence prevention is a community effort (combine it with your Hollaback! app for maximum effectiveness), and the more we send that message, the better.
Circle of 6 makes it easier for someone in a dicey situation, be it sexual assault or something else, to get help from friends, and that alone is worth downloading.
Learn more about Circle of 6 and download it—for free!—by visiting the website.