Antya Waegemann - Designer and Creative Strategist
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SAFE: A Sexual Assault Emergency App

SAFE is an app that helps survivors of sexual assault figure out where to go immediately after an assault, what their options are, and what to expect if they want to get a sexual assault kit. This app is the 911 for sexual assault victims. This project is part of a year long thesis investigation into how the redesign of rape kits could improve responses to sexual assault.

TYPE: App Design, UX/UI

CONTEXT: MFA Products of Design, School of the Visual Arts, 2018

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OVERVIEW

Project

SAFE Sexual Assault Resource App.

Type

Interaction Design / UX & UI / Strategy / Design Research

Context

MFA Products of Design
School of Visual Arts, 2019


SAFE is the 911 for sexual assault. It’s an app that tells you where to go, what to expect and provides you with the best resources the moment after a sexual assault occurs.

You don’t download SAFE, it’s an app that comes built into your phone’s operating system. It allows victims of sexual assault to clearly see what their options are in terms of emergency responses to their assault by providing them direct connections to hotlines, direct connections to the nearest hospitals with sexual assault programs and kits, direct connections to the police and detailed information about each option.

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THE PROBLEM

Current Landscape

After a sexual assault occurs, a victim experiences a form of trauma, which makes navigating complex systems even more challenging than it might already be. Currently, after an assault, a survivor can call 911, call a hotline, go the hospital, go to police, or look up what to do on Google. At the moment, none of those options are particularly clear for someone who has been assaulted. While we know to call 911 if we’re in a state of physical emergency, and while we know to stop, drop and roll in the case of a fire, we know very little about what’s available to us if we’re sexually assaulted. Overall, there are various barriers of access to information and a lack of transparency around resources, what will happen and what to expect.

Challenge

In a world where every 98 seconds someone in the US is sexually assaulted, this project looks at ways to allow victims to be more informed on what options they have in response to their sexual assault with the same care that is given to other emergencies. How might we provide accessible and clear information to sexual assault victims the moment after a sexual assault occurs?

 

“I don’t know where I would go, but I would probably just look it up on Google.”

PARTICIPANT, CO-CREATION WORKSHOP

 
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DESIGN RESEARCH


Design Research

On November 24, 2018 a co-creation session was held at A/D/O where participants collaborated around what they know about sexual assault responses, sexual assault kits and what they would like to see exist in the space. Through various tools like worksheets, maps and drawings, participants were asked what they would do immediately after a sexual assault and how they would seek a sexual assault kit.

Methods

Co-Creation Workshop
Pre-designed Facilitation Materials
Prototyping
User Testing

Insights

Most participants responded saying they would Google where to go, but that they probably wouldn’t seek help out of shame. When following up and performing a Google search, it was found that when you type in “Where to get a rape kit” there are pages and pages of news and organization articles but no clear place to turn. These insights sparked the idea for SAFE, one app that clearly lays out the options for victims to take and direct connections to these responses.

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A DIGITAL PLATFORM

Outcome

The 911 for sexual assault. SAFE isn’t an app that you download, it’s built into your phone’s operating system so you know it is there when you need it most. SAFE is an app that provides options for what to do after a sexual assault immediately after it happens. It provides 4 main features: 1) Connection to a hotline (someone to talk to), 2) Connection to the nearest hospital with trained sexual assault nurses, 3) Connection to the nearest police station, and 4) detailed information on these three steps so that the victim can make the decision best for them. It comes in many languages in order to prevent cultural and language barriers that often occur in reporting, and immediately lets users know that getting a kit and exam is free, your legal status does not matter, and that people care and believe you.

 
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Lessons Learned

One of the main goals of the app is its simplicity to better respond with a trauma-centered approach. However, because so little information exists around sexual assault resources it was challenging not to overwhelm the victim while at the same time making sure to include as much necessary information as possible. If this were to move forward, it would need more user testing and ensure that it is not overwhelming after an assault, but that it is able to help a victim make a more informed, clear decision.