A startup in Philadelphia has created a new necklace designed to help keep women safe from sexual predators, reports Fortune
Yasmine Mustafa is the founder of ROAR For Good, a startup company that creates wearable self-defense technology to help protect women against sexual assault and address the sources of violence.
Mustafa used to carry around pepper spray in Philadelphia as a tool for self-defense, although she says that she never had to use it or even threaten to use it. She says she heard too many stories about women suffering sexual violence, whether it was in her own city, or as far away as South America, where Mustafa spent six months in 2013.
“In each of the six countries I visited, I kept meeting women who told me stories about assault,” Mustafa said. “It was this repetitive theme throughout my trip.”
When she returned to Philadelphia, Mustafa set out to develop a tool more effective than pepper spray and other items commonly recommended for thwarting attacks.
The device is a necklace, named Athena, and it works by emitting a loud alarm and sends an immediate alert to friends and family with the user's location. Mustafa took feedback from women in focus groups that she held regarding how the device should be designed. She found that women in the focus groups thought traditional weapons, like pepper spray, can be hard to access during the act of an assault, and furthermore, these defenses can often be turned against the women.
ROAR For Good raised $250,000 to develop and manufacture Athena. The device can be worn as a necklace, or it can be attached to clothing, handbags and key chains. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign on Oct. 20, with Mustafa hoping to eventually sell the device at a retail price of $99.
Athena will also have a silent mode, requested by college students, to alert emergency contacts nearby without notifying the attacker. The only feature of the device which still has to be fully worked out is exactly what kind of alarm the necklace will set off if the wearer is attacked, reports TheBlaze.