The Rape Whistle UpdatedLadies, remember when you were at university, you were given a rape whistle, usually during Frosh Week? You were told to carry it around with you *just in case*. How many of you actually did? How many of you just looked at it and thought it was the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen? After all, if you’re being threatened by some knuckle-dragger, how likely was it that you’d be able to fish the thing out, bring it to your lips and actually blow loud enough to either a) attract attention or b) scare the bastard off?

I never carried one. My favorite form of protection was my very heavy dorm room key that I placed between the fingers of my clenched fist. I figured I would be able to hit whoever was attacking me in either the throat or the eyes with my mean right hook. Baring that, I had another couple of tricks up my sleeve that I was taught by some concerned male friends – neither of which involved going for the groin, and both of which, if applied properly, could seriously maim someone if I managed to connect.

Luckily, I’ve never had to use any of those techniques, but I am, unfortunately, in the minority on this one.

Well, the (not so) handy dandy rape whistle has been updated for the new millenium by the wonderful people at YWCA Canada.

The YWCA Safety Siren for the iPhone and the iTouch has a choice of 3 sirens that go off if either the application’s pink button is pressed, or the phone is shaken. The program then sends out an email to a safety contact listing your approximate location using Google Maps and calls a pre-set number to get help, again providing your approximate coordinates. But that’s not all this application does. The Safety Siren App also includes information of how to date and hook up safely, a guide to guys good and bad, and if the worst happens, it can provide a map of the nearest health and rape crisis centers.

The YWCA Safety Siren

Corinne Rusch-Drutz, YWCA Canada’s director of communications and membership development explains:

“We do ongoing programming for women and girls, we’re one of the largest service providers for girls’ programming and we’re certainly the largest provider of shelter for women in the country so it just seemed natural to connect young women with violence prevention on their phones because that’s where they live,”

“For us it was a perfect fit. That’s because they carry it with them wherever they go, and it’s private. And they’re more likely to look up content like the information we’re providing than they would on a personal computer which they may be sharing with somebody else.’’

For now, the application is only available for the iPhone or iPod Touch, but hopefully YWCA Canada will be creating versions for other 3G phones soon.

You can download the YWCA Safety Siren at the iTunes App Store.

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