When it comes to combating the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, a ubiquitous point of contention seems to be the notion of context. Even when such heinous activities are reported, the lack of detailed information around the crime often becomes a painful obstacle, and survivors are pulled into a devastating cycle of denial, doubt, and blame. But slowly, technology has begun to offer some form of solution to this problem, the latest of which manifests itself in the Wearsafe Tag, a new kind of wearable with a specific focus on college students and preventing sexual assaults on college campuses.
Slightly larger than a quarter and attachable to just about any piece of clothing or jewelry, the Wearsafe Tag allows its user to instantly alert friends and family members to troubling situations with a discreet press of a button. Rather than relying on a phone to call for help, the Bluetooth enabled Tag allows the wearer to send an alert via email, text, and the Wearsafe app to a predetermined group of emergency contacts. Immediately, a group chat is started, and relevant parties can see where the Tag user is located by way of GPS information. But most important of all, pressing the Tag allows your friends and family to instantaneously hear audio data from your location — in fact, they can hear what’s going on up to 60 seconds before you even activate the device.
This means that Tag users will not only be able to provide audio evidence of ongoing events, but also contextualize (to a point) the situation, helping their emergency contacts quickly assess the situation and send help if necessary. And as a Wearsafe wearer, having access to your phone isn’t a necessity — in fact, the Tag works even 200 feet away from your smartphone.
Rich Staropoli, a former U.S. Secret Service special agent who served both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton calls the Wearsafe Tag a “game changer,” and with his own daughter starting college this year, the threat of sexual assault is more personal than ever.
“As a father whose daughter is going to college in the fall I feel so strongly that this product should be on every college campus in America,” Staropoli says. “With the knowledge that students could be wearing a Wearsafe-connected device, a college or university creates a significant deterring effect.”