Imagine slipping on a piece of jewellery and feeling safer. That feeling usually doesn’t come to mind when tightening your watch or hanging on your necklace, but that is about to change thanks to a Philadelphia-based startup called ROAR for Good, which is launching a line of smart jewellery that will not only increase personal security and safety of others but may also potentially lower the amount of domestic violence.
ROAR for Good’s first product, which is currently available for pre-order, is a device called ‘Athena’ that can be worn as a pendant for necklaces or purse charms and can even be clipped under a shirt and out of sight.
When you’re in an emergency, simply press and hold the button on ‘Athena’ and the device will then release a loud alarm-type noise. Since this technology has a built-in GPS that connects to family and friends, it will send a text message alerting them you’re in trouble and gives them the option to call you or 911. In addition, the alarm can be helpful in throwing the attacker off-guard or scaring them.
Of course, not everyone wants the perpetrator to know that they’re calling for help or perhaps they are in a situation where they must hide. For these situations, there is a ‘SilentROAR’ feature that enables the victim to alert their loved ones for help without setting off a loud alarm and possibly jeopardizing their security.
Where did this innovative and empowering idea come from? For founder Yasmine Mustafa, it was backpacking through South America and hearing stories of domestic violence attacks against women. That’s not all – when she came back home to Philadelphia, she witnessed another horrible incident before her own eyes: a woman being violently raped after she was dragged into a dark, dingy alley.
These traumatic cases opened her eyes to the prevalence of violence on women and made her determined to create a solution in which, “women won’t have to alter their lifestyle, modify their behavior, or carry self-defense devices to protect themselves,” Mustafa explains.
But such a solution was not easy to come by. She initially considered the idea of mace (pepper spray) but discovered it was illegal in many states and quite dangerous. Existing products on the market consisted of guns, tasers, and other self-defense products, but not only were they combative and aggressive, many women feared that in a difficult situation, the attacker could use these weapons against them.
Fighting Violence Against Women
The solution came via wearable technology, which brought innovation to a self-defense space dominated by age-old weapons. Based on this premise, she partnered with Anthony Gold to develop ROAR for Good, so that wearable technology can be used to ‘roar’ for help in the form of jewellery. “We intentionally designed our safety devices for women so they aren’t intimidated by them and we made them into jewellery first so they want to wear them and have it readily on hand,” says Mustafa.
Today, the company is working to produce an entire line of smart jewellery and is looking to launch by November 2015. In spite of being a young enterprise, ROAR for Good ironically hopes that it will be instrumental in shaping a world in which their product is no longer needed.
As Mustafa explains, “Not a day passes that we don’t hear from someone sharing a horrific story from their past and their desire for the ROAR solutions to be available in the market. That “societal pull” motivates us every second to keep moving forward and pursuing our goals. We like to say that we know we’re successful when there is no longer a need for what we are developing. In a sense, we want to rapidly precipitate our own obsolescence.”