Athena: a Tiny, Wearable Device That Could Help Prevent Sexual Assault


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.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via ROAR For Good.

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