Part of a larger districtwide initiative to help raise community awareness on sexual assault and dating violence, ASK (Assault. Services. Knowledge) DC is a cellphone application designed to assisted victims of sexual, domestic and dating assault (Rich 2013). Being that social justice beliefs are sometime unnoticed in the way that projects are set up (Light and Luckin 2008) this The Men Can Stop Rape (a nonprofit organization that empowers men and boys to use their strength to create cultures free from violence.) and District of Columbia Executive Office of the Mayor Office of Victim Services app has successfully found a way regenerate its’ larger issue of sexual and dating violence through an apps that addresses and helps with the issue in regards to reporting sexual assault (Rich 2013).
Designed after a smaller scaled app (U ASK DC), that was released across Washington D.C.’s college and university campuses after seeing spike in the number of assaults that needed a more coordinated response, this app will now allow victims in the D.C. area to anonymously report incidents (Rich 2013). Alongside that once the free application is downloaded users are able to access resources such as medical assistance, law enforcement, and 24-hour support hotlines in the D.C. area. Even if a victim is not ready to report their assault right away, through the ASK DC app they are provided resources and other options that individually suits their needs. Seeing that social justice involves everybody (Light and Luckin 2008) this app also effectively provides bystander tools and resources for friends, family members or colleagues of those that have experienced sexual assault.
Although mobile technologies are made in mind for all it unfortunately does not always pan out that way (Goggin 2006). To address some accessibility issues like language, the app is also offered in English, Spanish, French, Amharic, American Sign Language, and more than 20 different Asian languages (Rich 2013). The app also has accessible assistance for those that are immigrant and can even connect individuals visiting from a foreign country to their home country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. Features such as those will continue to establish the success of this app because according to Light and Luckin article when designing for social justice complications usually occur because “one partly creates the landscape one will travel through in reaching a solution” (Light and Luckin 2008) (Dorst 2003).
I Believe that this app will prove to be successful because it provides victims with immediate access to the information that they will need most in the event of a sexual assault fast, privately, and free(Light and Lukin 2008)(askdc.org). Although it does not attack the initially goal of sexual assault prevention this helpful tool is for anyone living in or visiting DC area that has been or knows someone that has been sexually assaulted.
- Light, Ann and Rosemary Luckin. (2008). Designing for Social Justice: People, Technology and Learning. Report for Futurelab.
- Marwick, Alice. (2012). Public Domain: Surveillance in everyday life.” Surveillance & Society. 9(4), 378-393.
- Goggin, G. (2006). Cellular Disability: Consumption, Design, and Access. In Cell phone culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge.
- Rich, S (2013, August 19). App Helps Victims Report Sexual Assault Anonymously in D.C., Government Technology. Retrieved from http://www.govtech.com.
- ASK DC. (2013). Hotline information and app download. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from: http://www.askdc.org/