Here for You app rolls out
By: Gillian McGhee, Rambler Buzz Staff Writer
The Wellness Center has launched a new app that provides information and resources concerning dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault. Here for You is a simple, easy to navigate iPhone app that seeks to educate assault survivors, friends, and others on these serious issues.
In 2009, the Wellness Center received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice on Violence Against Women and renewal of that grant for $270,000 in 2012. After the center championed social media awareness campaigns, held support groups, and held events on campus, it used the remaining grant money to develop Here for You.
"We wanted to meet our students where they are at and provide a private way for Loyolans to access information,” says Stephanie Atella, a health educator at the Wellness Center. "It was our intention to get important information to students in the most effective way we could."
Atella and her graduate assistant Bethany Otto started gathering the data, information, and resources in 2012 to include in the app, and also worked on the concept with the app developer, 2EZasia. Loyola’s ITS and University Marketing and Communication departments put the finishing touches on the app, she says, and it’s now available for free download on the App Store.
The discreet nature of the application is key because it removes the element of public stigma a person may fear in seeking help.
“It can be intimidating to take a number down from a poster,” she says. “Here for You connects students to gender-based violence services and resources on campus and in Chicago, in a personal, private way.”
The home screen on the app prompts the user to select what kind of violence he/she has experienced and gives four options: “Dating/Domestic,” “Stalking,” “Sexual Assault,” and “I’m Not Sure.” Clicking on these modules provides a definition for each term, statistics and myths, medical and mental health services, reporting options, and specific on-campus resources.
The user can also access four tabs at the bottom of the screen that range from campus resources, how and when to report an incident, helping a friend, and additional resources available by state. Atella wanted to include all state coalitions so that students could use the app off-campus and outside the Loyola community.
While Here for You is a useful informational tool, it is not designed for emergencies, and should not be substituted for a 9-1-1 call. The app is currently not available for Android or Windows phones, but with more funding, Atella hopes to make it available for everyone with app capabilities.
“Honestly, I think everyone in the Loyola community can benefit from this app—survivors, co-survivors, staff, and faculty,” she says.
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