Tag Archive for Sexual

App Helps Victims Report Sexual Assault Anonymously in D.C.

A new app launched last week in Washington, D.C., assists victims of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence. Users can report incidents anonymously and find other helpful resources.


The free app, called ASK DC (short for Assault. Services. Knowledge.) is a joint effort between Mayor Vincent Gray’s Office of Victim Services and nonprofit organization Men Can Stop Rape. Once downloaded, users can access 33 assault-response resources including medical, law enforcement, 24-hour support hotlines and more in the D.C. area.


The app is part of a larger, districtwide initiative that includes a website and training materials intended to help raise community awareness about sexual assault and dating violence.


“The ASK DC app is not just for assault victims,” according to a statement from Men Can Stop Rape. “The bystander tools and resources provided can be used by anyone to direct a friend, family member or a colleague who may have experienced sexual assault to the help they need.”


Melissa Hook, director of the Office of Victim Services, said men are also encouraged to download the app in the event they are a bystander in a crime like sexual assault.


Since the app allows victims direct access to medical attention, they can get properly examined before reporting the assault to the police, Hook said. Providing multiple resources through the app connects victims to numerous response and support options, even if they don’t report the assault right away.


“The practical details are sometimes the biggest barriers in the middle of the night when someone’s traumatized,” Hook said.


To reach beyond English speakers, the app offers services in English, Spanish, French, Amharic, American Sign Language, and more than 20 different Asian languages. Legal assistance is available for immigrant victims, and the app connects those visiting from abroad to their home country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.


But before the app was available across the District of Columbia, a similar app was launched on a smaller scale.


ASK DC was modeled after U ASK DC, which was released last year across Washington D.C.’s college and university campuses, mainly to help women report sexual assault and violence. Hook said D.C.-area colleges were seeing a spike in the number of assaults and needed a more coordinated response.


The mayor’s office reported that prior to the launch of U ASK DC, sexual assaults on campuses had been greatly under-reported. The success of U ASK DC later incentivized the mayor’s office to expand the project districtwide with the launch of ASK DC.


ASK DC can be downloaded for BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.

NYC Releases Sexual Health App for Teens

As part of its mission to improve public health and awareness around issues related to sex, New York City released an app to educate teenagers about sex.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) released the app, called Teens in NYC Protection+, as a way for teens to get health information and find city-approved clinics that offer services like STD screenings and birth control counciling.

The app’s button labels read “where to go,” “what to get,” and “what to expect.”

The app also provides walking and subway directions to nearby clinics, as well as educational videos. 

“Many teens are simply not comfortable talking about sex with their patents,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told the New York Daily News, adding that those teens are most at risk for becoming pregnant. “With this app, we’re speaking their language.”

Several groups, including anti-abortion groups, spoke out against the app. Chad Hills, an analyst for CitizenLink, a Christian advocacy group, decried the app.

“Teaching children to avoid and deceive their parents — in exchange for questionable ‘health’ advice and ‘services’ — endangers and exploits children, while eroding core family principles in the areas of parent-child communication, connectedness and child well-being,” he said.

Alongside announcement of the app, DHMH also pointed out that teen pregnancy rates in New York City dropped 30 percent over the last decade, and dropped 5 percent from 2010 to 2011.

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