Domestic Abuse is a serious issue in the United States, but the numbers about just how serious are not accurate. A survey by DomesticShelters.org of over 800 participants states that over one-third of survivors of abuse never document nor report incidents, as they continue to live in fear. Many victims of domestic abuse are embarrassed and ashamed of their situation, do not want to admit they are being abused, and some do not yet realize they are victims of abuse.
While society thinks of the black-eyed victim, domestic abuse comes in all forms, not only physical violence that leaves marks and bruises. Emotional and psychological abuse, intimidation and control are all unhealthy environments to endure. Raising healthy children in a home filled with tension is cognitive dissonance personified.
Keeping a log of events helps protect you and your children from abuse. Attorney Giugi Carminati states that “Victims have a tough time being believed,” so any evidence a survivor has can be helpful in his or her case. This is especially useful in cases where the survivor may be accused of cognitive impairment or memory issues, which can bring their testimony into question.
Apps for Domestic Violence Incidents
The following list of innovative apps can assist survivors to identify and record abuse, in the event it is needed as evidence in the future. Believing victims, promoting safety for victims and families, and supporting survivors are all positive ways this exciting technology is improving lives. Being proactive to protect your privacy is the first step in preparing for freedom.
Secure Messaging + Calls: The app Signal is a simple, powerful, and secure messaging platform available free of charge for iPhone, Android and desktop. With an extreme focus on privacy and powerful end-to-end encryption, the Signal protocol keeps your messages and conversations secure. The Signal app cannot be accessed without entering a unique PIN code, meaning your messages and calls are not accessible to anyone but you, are not tracked by your wireless carrier, nor can they be monitored nor hacked. Be careful about who you can trust… keep your circle small.
Rev Voice Recorder and Memos: The Rev Voice Recorder and Memos for the iPhone or iPad records an abuser’s threats, which can provide strong evidence in court. The Rev also allows the recording of the sounds around you, even with other apps open or when the phone goes to sleep, hiding the fact that it is recording. The app syncs to Dropbox to backup recordings, in case the abuser deletes recordings or the phone is damaged.
TapeACall Pro: TapeACall Pro makes it easy to record an incoming or outgoing call you are about to make or one you are already. The other party will have no indication they are being recorded, which eliminates fear in recording. Once the call is concluded, the recording can be easily downloaded to your computer. Files can be labeled and stored, helping you organize them for later use.
VictimsVoice PWA: Keeping a log of incidents of abuse helps to show a pattern of control, aggression and intimidation. This app keeps your notes secure by using an activation code every time you log in. As a PWA, or progressive web app, the use of this tool is not tracked like normal internet use, so it cannot be easily detected by an abuser. It can be accessed from any computer at any time.
Noonlight: Noonlight is another Apple app that provides backup for a situation when you feel uncertain. For example, during a first date or when walking home alone by yourself at nighttime. Hold down the button in the app and then release when you are safe. If you let go, but do not input your pin number, 911 will be alerted to your location. Your location will be updated even if you are moving or inside a car.
RUSafe: This app is a free assessment from the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh that works with both iPhone and Android phones. It can help individuals determine if they are in a potentially dangerous situation with someone, and includes a secure journal to upload text, audio, and photographs. The app was created with the danger assessment tool which draws upon the experiences of hundreds of domestic abuse survivors.
Many survivors of domestic abuse have difficulty admitting that they are with an abusive partner. A safe partner should never make you feel afraid. The myPlan app is another resource for those that are being abused. It is a secure, password-protected app that can help with safety decisions if you or someone close to you is experiencing abuse. The app asks several key questions about your situation. Responses produce a score on a scale that varies from danger to extreme danger. Information about advice, safety-planning and counseling is also given.
One in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, meaning it is more prevalent than most people realize. Domestic abuse happens behind closed doors and sometimes in plain sight. These advances in technology support victims and helps victims survive and escape abuse.
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