New App Will Help Keep You Safe When You're Walking Home Alone


As much as I like to grumble about how women’s movement is limited by a world that makes us afraid to walk alone at night — it’s something I grumble about whenever my mom forwards me a chain email that’s like, “IF YOU’RE LEAVING THE MALL GET INTO YOUR CAR THROUGH THE PASSENGER’S SEAT!!!” — the fact remains that walking alone at night, as a woman, can be terrifying.

That’s why Kitestring, a new web app, is a welcome development. It works thusly: you set up a trip time online or via text, based on how long you think it will take you to reach your destination. When that time is up, Kitestring will send you a text; you can either respond “Ok” to announce that you’re safe or extend your travel period (if you get there early, you can send a premature “Ok” as well). If you fail to respond, the app will send a text message to all of your pre-selected emergency contacts. Here’s the default one:

Hey, this is [YOUR NAME]. I’m going out for a walk. If you get this, I might not have made it back safely. Give me a call? (I used to send this message.)

You can also choose a special password in place of “Ok,” which is something the company recommends, as well as a duress code in order to “discreetly alert your emergency contacts.”

If I were to use this regularly I think my friends would call the police at least twice a week because I often throw my phone aside with mindless glee in order to eat frozen cheese delicacies upon returning home. BUT for the more mindful, this technology is invaluable — anything that helps women feel more safe is obviously a great thing, and it could potentially save lives. It’s also worth noting that the duress code could be used in other situations as well: if someone finds themselves in a situation with someone they know and feel unsafe around (like an abusive ex-partner, someone aggressive they left a party with, etc.), they could use that to silently call their friends for help.

If you’d like, you can sign up for Kitestring here — no smartphone required!

Image via LDProd/Shutterstock.

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