In the United States, an estimated 19.3% of women and 1.7% of men have been raped during their lifetimes, according to the CDC. Roar for Good is dedicated to preventing physical assaults. The company’s first product, Athena, is a petite round button that clips onto a belt or lapel. When pressed, Athena emits a loud alarm and texts the wearer’s location to their designated emergency contacts.
The product is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo. With a goal of $40,000, Athena was fully funded less than 48 hours after its launch. The campaign had earned $150,310 by the time of writing.
Athena is expected to be available internationally in early May 2016 and will retail for $99.
Athena cofounder Yasmine Mustafa said the inspiration for the device came to her during a solo backpacking trip across South America. “As amazing as [the trip] was…literally everywhere I went I would hear of a time where a woman had been attacked,” Mustafa told Mashable. When she came back, a nearby neighbor had gone outside to read her meter when she was attacked, brutally beaten and sexually assaulted. “When I read the news story the next day, that’s when the idea for ROAR was born.
Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage, the product aims to prevent assaults before they happen, whether the attacker is a stranger or familiar. Four out of five rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
While pepper spray and tasers are not readily available to consumers and are often confiscated at airports, Athena was designed to be easily accessible to anyone. Also, if overpowered, the Athena can not be used as a tool against the victim, like the aforementioned safety devices might.
Unlike other safety prevention products, like Safelet, Athena is not meant to be worn on the user’s wrist.
“We took a self defense class and we found out that the worst place to wear a safety device is on your wrist, because you only have one hand to activate it,” Mustafa explained. “That’s why we designed ours so it’s not a bracelet. You can wear it in a couple different ways.”
In addition to helping prevent physical assaults, Roar For Good, a registered B-corp, hopes to change the culture of assault through education and empathy.
Roar For Good plans to donate 10% of its Indiegogo proceeds to the One Love Foundation, which aims to educate high school and college students about relationship violence.
“Building these self defense tools or safety tools to us is kind a short term strategy,” Mustafa said. “The whole idea is educating young children on what constitutes a healthy relationship with the goal of not needing these devices one day.”
Athena contains a small, low-energy Bluetooth chip that pairs with a smartphone and cell service in order for the text messaging system to work. The alarm will sound regardless — unless the user has the SilentROAR feature activated.
The SilentROAR with not trigger the alarm, but will still transmit your location to your contacts. This feature is meant to be more preemptive, although Mustafa noted that many women in their focus group said they would use it in a domestic violence situation when they don’t want to alert their attacker.
While Athena is being marketed for women, Mustafa said the unisex product can be used by males, children and even the elderly. The battery-powered device is currently only available in three colors — Rose Gold, Antique Silver and Timeless Black — but the company plans to release more products down the line geared toward specific groups.
Roar For Good hopes to eventually add new features to Athena, such as calling the police from the device and inserting devices directly in clothing. It also plans to release a luxury line of Athena products to help the device blend with different people’s styles.
“The whole idea is to take ownership of yourself and empower yourself,” Mustafa adds. “It’s about empowering women to live a life without fear.”