Ahwoo Dixi Fam,
If you're anything like us, you've been in an ongoing state of anxiety the last few weeks. It's wrong that it takes something so awful to get us talking about the 'normalisation' of our fears. I think a lot of us surpress how scarily normal our everyday habits have become... the being constantly alert, constantly suspicious, the keeping your head down, the holding your keys between your fingers when you're out alone, the avoiding certain routes / places / areas, your heart dropping when you see a group of men up ahead, that sense of terror when you see a shadow walking close behind...
We acknowledge that it isn't just white women we need to be talking about here - white cis female victims tend to be the ones that make the papers; it doesn't mean they're the only ones. There are many other intersections of people even more adversely affected by this patriarchal culture. A patriarchal culture that demeans everyone. That teaches us to be modest (but not too modest, because some men don't find that attractive), nice (but not too nice, because then you're asking for it), quiet (but not too quiet, because then you're asking for it), submissive (but not too submissive, because then you're asking for it). That teaches men that violent sexual urges are okay, they're entitled to other peoples bodies, and they'll probably get away with it if they do something wrong...
It's exhausting. We just want to be able to exist in peace, right?
Fellow humans who also find yourself in this intersection of people, who have found yourselves relating to the stories of women being harassed, being scared to leave their homes; it isn't your fault. It never has been. We've all been taught to change our own behaviours to avoid violent male attention - and if we don't change our behaviours, when we get attacked, it's our fault and we should have known better. The work here shouldn't be on us. But until the time comes that men as a whole understand the anxiety and terror they can cause and actively want to change... pro-activeness should be in our arsenal.
So we are reaching out to you all - team up with your other trusted friends. Find an app that you can all use together, or agree to be each others emergency contacts. Look out for each other. Check in with each other. And listen to each other.
Emergency SOS (Apple)
This isn't an app, but is built into iPhone (and can be used on Apple Watch). To access and set up, go to Settings > Emergency SOS. Here you can add your emergency contacts, and easily set up a short cut (e.g. press the power button quickly 5 times) to alert your contacts and emergency services if you need help. Once set up, this will also appear on the screen when you go to power off.
This can also link up to your Medical ID, particularly useful if you have underlying health issues, allergies etc.
Emergency SOS (Android and other operating systems)
These applications will differ between manufacturers, but usually have the same basic uses as the Apple version. Go into Settings and look for 'SOS', 'emergency' etc.
We recommend this as a basic staple - if you phone offers this kind of application, get it set up straight away. You'll probably not need to use it. But it's there in the rare event that you do.
'Find My' App (Apple)
+ Can see your trusted friends / family in real time
+ Easy to sync and use
- No SOS / send help trigger functionality, literally just a location tracker
- Only Apple users in your family can use
Life 360 (Apple)
This is an all-rounder app with both location tracking and emergency SOS feature. We've been trying this app ourselves and it's great.
+ This app can push alerts to your friends phones when you arrive at home or work - you can also add other regularly visited locations.
+ Crash detection alerts - if you or a friend were to be in a car crash, this app can detect it and alert your friends / family automatically.
+ Help Alert Trigger if you are feeling unsafe - this will send your location to your contacts.
- Can feel invasive, especially with the alerts - you'll need to add only your closest friends and family who you completely trust to use this with you
- Some features are subscription only
bSafe (Apple + Android)
This is another all-rounder with location tracking, SOS alerts, and a ton of extra features.
+ Will record sound and images when you activate an SOS alert
+ Can use voice activation
+ Create a team of 'guardians' who will virtually walk with you via GPS
- You need to pay a subscription to be able to ask for help - in the free version you can only act as a 'guardian' for others
Red Panic Button (Apple + Android)
This app works in conjunction with Google Maps to send your location to your chosen contacts when you press the red button.
+ Social media integrations
+ Super simple and easy to use
- Fairly basic
- Ads on the Free version
Don't want a location tracking app? Try Kitestring.
Check in with this application via text message and if you don't respond to their messages, it will alert your emergency contacts.
+ This is probably the most non-invasive service
+ Simple to use, don't even need a smart phone
+ / - No location tracking
- There may be a delay between you getting into trouble and your contacts being notified that something is wrong.
There are many more apps out there that offer similar features - have a try of a few, you'll find one that works for you and your friends.
Like we said above, the chances are, you'll probably never need to use these features, BUT - if it eases a little bit of anxiety, and we know it's there as a back up when we're out and about, it's probably worth setting up now. It's also nice to know that we can be of help to our friends too, and know that they are okay.
Do you have an app that you'd recommend that we haven't included above? Please let us know!
The Dixi Girls x