This App Helps Keep Women Safe by Mapping Sex Offenders in Their Surroundings
Violence against women is a serious issue throughout the world, but Puerto Rico is experiencing especially high rates of gender-based violence. So much so that just last year, the island’s governor Pedro Pierluisi declared a state of emergency in response to gender-based violence.
But two Puerto Rican women, Mayrel González Huertas and Claudia Ramos Zorrilla, are trying to make the world a safer place for women by creating Aware, an app that keeps users updated about the crimes going on around them and possible sex offenders in the area.
The app — which is only available in Puerto Rico now but will launch in the rest of the country in the upcoming months — alerts users if they are in an unsafe area, recommends protective measures users can take, allows users to see the history of crimes that took place in the area and to share their experience with other users.
A premium version of the app even allows users to speak with a live virtual agent when they feel unsafe and send their location to family members and the police if something happens to them.
Gonzalez Huerta told Telemundo Noticias that the idea came to her because they’re both mothers of little girls and that technology has made them more aware of all the dangers they face. They came up with the app so they could use that technology to keep them and their families safe.
But for Gonzalez Huerta, the issue is very personal too. “Unfortunately, I had a neighbor who was a sexual predator but thank god that the police were able to catch him before he could do anything to a kid. But at that moment we decided that the app had to come out, we have to do something that has an impact for women, for mothers, and for the communities,” Gonzalez Huerta told the news station.
González Huerta also emphasized that the app is not about making women scared, but about giving them the tools necessary to prevent and denounce crimes.
“This is about prevention, the most important thing at this time. The landscape of insecurity that many women face is worrying. And we’re just talking about the cases that are made public. There are a lot of cases that aren’t made public and they’re real. The issue of security is fundamental today,” González Huerta said.
The app comes at an important time for women around the world who are forced to live in constant fear of gender-based violence. To download the app, find it on Google Play, the App Store, and theawareapp.com.
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