Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Student designs a rape alarm bracelet that can alert friends and nightclub staff with a simple tap if someone is being harassed or sexually assaulted

A wristband which sends an alert if the wearer is being sexually assaulted or harassed on a night out has been developed by a student.

Design student Beatriz Carvalho, 21, invented the discreet band and accompanying app which alerts friends and nightclub staff if a person feels they are in danger.

If the wearer finds themselves in an uncomfortable situation, they can tap the wristband to trigger the alert through the app.

A double tap will make the wristband light up and send a second alarm to bar and nightclub staff. 

After suffering from an incident where she was harassed as a teenager, Ms Carvalho wanted to help potential victims and 'educate perpetrators'.

The Edinburgh Napier product design student came up with the idea for her fourth year project with the aim to help keep its wearer safe.

The wristband can be linked to the Lux app which friends can join before going on a night out.  

 'It's there to identify behaviour that is going too far and to help educate the perpetrator that this sort of thing isn't acceptable,' said Ms Carvalho.

'It's important that people who do potentially harass and step over the line learn to not do this sort of thing again - that's really the only way that things will improve.'

The product has been a personal project of Ms Carvalho since she experienced harassment at school.

The incident still haunts her today saying that certain triggers bring the horrible memories back and wants to make a difference for people which Ms Carvalho says could act like a safety net.

Sexual harassment, groping, assault and unwanted sexual attention happens frequently at gigs and festivals

A recent study by the University of Leeds said that most incidents are not reported, in part because victims worry because they will not be believed or taken seriously.

The study noted that the number of false rape accusations is no higher than false reports for other crimes - 3 per cent.

The UK Live Music Census found that two out of three venues examined did not have policies on sexual harassment and assault.

'Many have experienced something like this in a nightclub or at a gig,' said Ms Carvalho.

'No one should be scared of going out and Lux could be the difference for many - it could act like a safety net.'

'Sexual harassment and behaviour that makes people uncomfortable is a complex subject.

'Many people want to shy away from it and pretend that it doesn't happen.'

Statistics show that about one in five women in England and Wales have experienced sexual assault since the age of 16.

Makers of such products, like the Lux wristband, argue that they have a vital role to play in tackling sexual assault.

The project was displayed for the first time at the Edinburgh Napier Degree Show earlier this month.

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