By Anna Orso
The Philadelphia Inquirer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Can technology play a role in preventing violence? Yasmine Mustafa, CEO of “Roar for Good” believes yes. She is the CEO of the company that developed Athena, a small, wearable device. In the event of an attack, a woman can activate the device and send out a loud sound and/or notify friends and family of her location.
For generations, women have carried devices with the goal of preventing sexual assault, whether it was stashing pepper spray in a purse or attaching a rape whistle to a key chain.
Now in 2018, we have apps and gadgets, new versions of protective defenses that include a bracelet that uses a stench to repel attackers, roofie-detecting nail polish, and “consent apps.”
The internet-fueled #MeToo movement facilitated the most recent reckoning over sexual assault and harassment, but can technology also play a role in preventing violence? Or are these simply 21st-century iterations of old attitudes that assume the onus is on women?
Yasmine Mustafa says that in her ideal future, these devices won’t need to exist. But, she said, “why not create things that make things better in the meantime, until we achieve gender equality?”
Mustafa is CEO of Roar for Good, the 15-person company that developed Athena, a small, wearable device developed in Philadelphia that she calls “the more innovative alternative to pepper spray.” In the event of an attack, a woman can activate the device and send out a loud sound and/or notify friends and family of her location.
She said the device, which retails for $129, though a lower-cost option is in development, was marketed toward and popular among young urban women, as well as parents who bought them for college-age daughters. “Tens of thousands” of units have been sold, said Mustafa, 36.