What if there was a way to ensure that every woman could go through her life feeling secure and fearless? Imagine a world where women could go about their lives without having to consciously avoid unprovoked attacks or attention.
Yasmine Mustafa wants to create that world.
Last November, women throughout Philadelphia were shaken when a 29-year-old woman was beaten and raped in a Center City neighborhood. She had gone outside to feed the meter and man came up behind her, dragging her into a nearby alley and sexually assaulting her. She was less than 100 feet away from the bar where her friends were waiting for her. As a Philadelphia resident myself, I was horrified that this could happen in a neighborhood that myself and many others have regarded as “safe.” I truly felt that nowhere was “safe” anymore. This attack happened just a block away from Yasmine. For Yasmine, hearing about this incident flipped a switch inside her. She wanted to do something – and that was how the idea for ROAR was born.
Yasmine was already fueled from her travels throughout South America last year, where she came in contact with an overwhelming number of women who’d been assaulted. It was clear to Yasmine that this wasn’t just about creating safety where she lived. Women everywhere were suffering, and not enough was being done. She said:
“After the shock wore off of it happening so close to home, in an area I perceived as safe, the idea of using technology and products women already wear to stay safe was born.” [source]
ROAR, named with a hat tip to the Katy Perry smash hit, is Yasmine’s promise to work toward creating a better world for women.
ROAR is currently engineering a small module with a high-pitched alarm and powerful flashing light embedded into it that can be integrated into items women already wear on a daily basis – such as necklaces, bracelets, belts and purses. The goal of this tiny but powerful device is to distract and disorient attackers while also alerting the public that something is wrong. When the device is activated, the assailant is stunned, allowing the victim time to get away or attract attention to herself. That’s not all ROAR does, though – and this is where things get really exciting. ROAR is also a game-changing app with the potential to change the way assaults get reported and handled. As soon as the device is pressed and the light and sound are activated, a text message goes out to the device owner’s pre-programmed contacts, alerting them of the emergency and provides a link to the victim’s location. The app also automatically activates a call to 911. The device also integrates with a crowd-sourced, safety mobile application that allows women to get a better sense of their surroundings.
“By being able to attach this device to nearly anything, we’re enabling women to carry this powerful deterrent everywhere they go. [source]
Yasmine discovered that women are more intimidated by conventional self-defense tools such as mace and taser guns because these tools could be used against them should they become overpowered. That’s the great thing about ROAR – it is already on the wearer and completely accessible – no fumbling around in purses or pockets – and easy to use.
Yasmine wants ROAR to be available to women worldwide – especially in developing countries with higher incidences of sexual assault and less laws in place to protect women. That’s why Yasmine will be implementing a “one for one” model. Yasmine says:
“That is, for each accessory purchased, one is donated to a woman in need. In addition to addressing ‘symptoms’ of the epidemic, we’re taking a long-term strategy to alter society’s viewpoint on women’s safety by partnering with existing organizations to educate, mentor and create a culture of respect for everyone.” [source]
Yasmine has been passionate about the tech industry for quite some time and follows trends closely. She says:
“Using technology for positive societal impact has always been an interest of mine, and it’s now more possible than ever with wearables. I particularly love reading about wearables being used to help disabled and disadvantaged people – technology like eyewear to help the blind (RNIB), footwear to help the visually impaired (Lechal), mosquito patches to prevent disease (Kite Patch) or robotics that help the disabled walk (ReWalk Robotics).” [source]
Looks like ROAR could be the next big thing when it comes to wearables and social change. We personally think ROAR should be put into the hands of every single woman and girl. Yasmine is currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for the device, which you can receive more information about by joining the mailing list!