IMPACT

App Lets Domestic Violence Victims Call For Help Just By Shaking Their Phones

07/28/2015 09:27 EDT | Updated 07/28/2015 09:27 EDT

Turkey’s domestic violence figures are staggering, but women’s fear of reporting their abuse is just as concerning. A new innovative app hopes to disrupt that devastating cycle.

In Turkey, 38 percent of women reported having been attacked by a family member, according to a Ministry of Family and Social Policy study. What’s more, is that 89 percent of women who have been subjected to such violence never told authorities about it or pressed charges.

To give women the courage to speak up about their attackers, and seek out help, mobile company Vodafone Turkey recently released the “Easy Rescue” app, Fortune reported. 

The app is innovative and effective in that users can discreetly report an incident.

All users have to do is shake their phones to activate the app, which connects them to police, hotlines and ambulance services without their assailants knowing.

More than 250,000 women have downloaded the app, and it’s been activated over 103,000 times, according to a statement released by advertising agency Y&R Team Red Istanbul.

In addition to finding a stealth way for users to get help, the app developers also had to figure out how to surreptitiously market it. 

Abuse of women is widely tolerated in Turkey to the point that when an anti-violence group hung posters displaying women enjoying life and freedom, passersby tore them down and ripped off the images of the women’s limbs, the Atlantic reported. 

To ensure only women were privy to the app’s marketing efforts, Y&R developed a number of innovative methods.

Firstly, the app was registered under an alias to keep men finding out about it, Y&R said in a statement. 

To spread the message about the app, and how to use it, Y&R embedded messages in videos and other content that was targeted specifically to women.

For its efforts, Y&R was awarded the Grand Prix award in the media category at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

“Our agency in Istanbul took on a tough social issue that, given the nature of domestic violence, demanded innovative thinking,” Tony Granger, Y&R’s Chief Global Officer, said in a statement. “We are proud to win this Lion, and even prouder that we have been able to help women in danger of being abused.”