I had a bunch of content planned for this week. But I’m not going to be rolling a lot of the planned stuff out. It seems disingenuous, when much of my country is surrounded in a dark cloud of anger, terror and sadness. In the last week we’ve read about Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels, the boxing champion who was shot and killed by her boyfriend and we’ve followed the horror story of Uyinene Mrwetyana who went to the post office to collect a package and was raped and killed. These are just two of many stories that fill the news currently. Violence against women is a global issue that just never seems to go away.
3915 women and children were murdered last year
That’s an average 10 women and children murdered every single day of 2018.
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) September 2, 2019
“Get a protection order”. She did. She was still murdered.
“Take boxing classes”. She did. She was still murdered.
“Watch how you dress”. She did. She was still raped.
“Don’t walk far”. She didn’t. She still got murdered.
Maybe it’s time to tell HIM to STOP ATTACKING HER.
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) September 2, 2019
What I want to do is type out a rant. I want to rage and shout and be angry. But I also realise that the narrative now needs to change. Men need to call out other men. Actually, I’m not going to go in to this. Rather I wanted to try help. I’ve written this post rather quickly and decided to smash some stuff together to try offer a little bit of support to those possibly feeling overcome by fear. Here are 3 apps to help you feel safe – or at least ways to use your apps to make you feel safe.
Location sharing on Uber and Whats App
Okay, I know, technically not an app. BUT there are features on both Uber and Whats App you can use to help you feel safe. You’re able to share your location with a friend or family member in real time. For Uber, you can actually have a friend track your trip. I do this all the time when I’m overseas and getting into an uber by myself. I let my boyfriend and mom track my ride, even though I message them as well to let them know when I’m getting in the uber and when I get to where I need to be safely. The Uber follow my ride share is relatively simple (I’ve copy pasted this directly from the Uber website):
TURN SHARING ON
1. From the app, go to “Settings”
2. Select “Follow My Ride”
3. Move the toggle to ON
CHOOSE CONTACTS TO SHARE WITH
1. From the app, go to “Settings” > “Follow My Ride”
2. Tap “SELECT CONTACTS”
3. Search for the names of the people you’d like to share your trips with
TURN ON FOLLOW MY RIDE DURING A TRIP
1. In the top left of the navigation screen, tap the pin icon
2. If you see a blue check, your location is shared
WhatsApp also lets you share your live location with friends or family members for a select amount of time. Sharing a life location is a bit different to just sharing your location because the live location is dynamic, it keeps updating even if WhatsApp is in the background and not being used. You can share it in a chat or group conversation and then everyone can see your location for the time frame you’ve selected. WhatsApp has a very comprehensive explanation of how to share your live location which I’ve copy pasted for you. Word of warning – this one is sometimes buggy, in my experience, so possibly use it with another location sharing app just in case:
To share your live location, you’ll need to enable location permissions for WhatsApp by going to your phone’s Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > App permissions > Location > turn on WhatsApp.
Alternatively, if you recently opened WhatsApp, you can go to your phone’s Settings > Apps & notifications> WhatsApp > Permissions > turn on Location.
To share your live location:
- Open a chat or group.
- Tap Attach > Location > Share live location .
- Select the length of time you’d like to share your live location. Your live location will stop being shared after the selected amount of time.
- Optionally, add a comment.
- Tap Send .
Find My Friends
If you have an iPhone Find My Friends is already included on the phone if it is using iOS 9 or later. The app allows you to locate friends or family members via their devices – so it tracks their phone. Friends can send you a request to follow your location and if you accept then they can see where you are. If you want to see someone’s location, you invite them and they must accept your invitation. The app is also available to download for Android phones here. This is really useful for groups of friends to keep tabs on one another, but also remember to remove people should you have a falling out or break up (else they can still track your where abouts). If you own an iPhone click here and you’ll get a full break down on how to set up Find My Friends.
Full disclosure, I’ve never used this app but I’ve seen it popping up in conversations over the past few days and it looked like a worthwhile share. Though I’ll probably try it in the next few weeks when I have more time. It’s available for iPhone and Android devices. It turns your phone in to a mobile panic button. If you leave the app open in the background and shake your phone, the panic button immediately goes off – which means the app immediately silently calls and text messages your emergency contacts. There seems to be a paid offering as well where you can link the app to an armed response company who will then be able to track your location. It looks really simple to use and might be useful to have activated and open if you’re travelling alone at night.
The ugly truth is apps won’t necessarily help if you’re incapacitated or if your phone is taken away, but they do provide some level of support along the way and every little bit helps at the moment. Women are scared and we’re fearful, so it won’t hurt to do a bit more to feel safe. If you use any other apps to help with your safety let me know in the comments below – they could help someone else too.