Calling All Women

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Cell phone services are being developed to feel a bit safer.

Many people, especially women, have felt unease while coming home late after work or walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Kitestring is a new web-based and text messaging service that may help you feel a bit more secure. After signing up, you can ask the service to check up on you after a certain amount of time (via their website or a text message). If you don’t reply, then it will automatically alert your emergency contact. The more practical aspect of Kitestring as opposed to similar apps, is that it’s your inaction that prompts it to act, since in many emergency situations access to your phone may be impossible. The other advantage is that it will work on any phone with SMS capabilities, not just smart phones which makes it more accessible for those in developing countries.

Creator Stephan Boyer says, “The idea for Kitestring came to me in late January. My girlfriend, who lives in a dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco, called to ask me to check up on her as she was walking home from work one day. I wondered if there might be an app or service that could offer a little extra safety for her when she goes out at night.” The service Boyer developed is free and each month you get 8 trips. An upgraded version is also available for an unlimited number of trip and additional emergency contacts.

Another resource is the so-called feminist phone intervention which allows women to give out a special phone number to someone she doesn’t want to give her real number to. This may seem unnecessary or cheeky, but unfortunately there are situations when turning down someone can turn into an overly-aggressive confrontation. When the recipient calls the number they are greeted with a quote from feminist bell hooks. The phone number has proven to be popular and is now available in every U.S. time zone, and other countries such as Mexico and Israel. The original number is (669) 221-6251, so put that in your address book and hope that you don’t have to use it.

Photo byQuestion Everything, licensed underCreative Commons.

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