With depressing statistics revealing sexual assault to occur every 107 seconds in the United States, it’s not unusual to carry some form of protection at all times — whether it’s pepper spray, a stun gun or a cute, cat-shaped keychain meant to gouge out the eyes of an attacker. A problem with these self defense products is having to fumble in a purse or pocket for them during a moment of need. A wearable safety device called Athena may help with this issue.
Athena, designed by a startup called ROAR For Good, is compact in size and only weighs an ounce, so it can be clipped onto a pocket or worn as a necklace. When pressed for three seconds, Athena will emit a loud alarm and send text messages to the wearer’s emergency contacts, alerting them to their location. There’s also a silent feature which allows the alarm to be sent without the attacker knowing it has been activated.
ROAR’s co-founder, Yasmine Mustafa, spent six months on a solo trek across South America, meeting victims of sexual violence. When she returned home to Philadelphia, a woman in her neighborhood was assaulted after going outside to put money in her parking meter. “Our goal is to start a movement where every woman can live their lives boldly and without fear,” Mustafa said in a statement to Jezebel. She says they want to make make existing self defense tools safer, because most women find the existing tools bulky and intimidating. ROAR worked with self-defense instructors and police officers to develop the product.
Athena’s Indiegogo campaign is currently at more than $239,000. Their initial goal of $40,000 was met within the first two days. “At the end of the day, our goal is that devices like these will no longer be needed,” said Mustafa.