Instead of the standard “key between the fingers” or readily gripping pepper spray in your purse, a new app was invented in attempts to create a safety network for women who feel scared in urban public spaces. With one in three women assaulted, this app is more needed than ever. Launched in Tel Aviv in 2019, SafeUP hosts an active list of trained volunteers, all women, who are available 24/7 for any woman who needs support, and downloads the app. Whether a woman is walking home, heading out of a club, or is perhaps on a threatening date, the app offers three functions to create a sense of safety for women in need.
One function is the walk and talk, which connects women with someone through the app to speak to. The Help NOW function signals between 2-3 women within a 500 meter radius to connect with a user who feels she is in immediate danger. The group will determine whether to arrive at the scene or send for help. The third option shares a user’s live location to a predetermined list of contacts, making her easily findable should something go awry. Each option is meant to make women feel safer on the streets of any city and ultimately to prevent sexual assault and harassment. SafeUP’s mission is to create a network of women available 24/7 and just three minutes away from any user in need.
SafeUP received funding from Tel Aviv Municipality and Israel’s Innovation Authority. The 10 or so team members seek to connect with city municipalities globally in order to cast a wider safety net for women. They currently have over 3,000 monthly active users, serve 10 communities, have 500 safety ambassadors, and have received over 200 calls on the platform.
Why SafeUP? CEO and Founder Neta Schreiber shares the unfortunate inspiration that kickstarted the idea. “Nine years ago, I was at a house party when I suddenly noticed that one of my friends had disappeared. My friend and I searched for her in a panic, and, as we headed upstairs, we heard her voice amidst a group of men’s voices. We went into one of the rooms and there they were – the men and our friend, half-naked, fighting them. When they noticed us, the men immediately fled. We managed to get there just in time – luck and women saved my friend that night. In 2019 I decided to develop an app that would unite women under the common goal of mutual protection and safety. I believe that together we can harness the incredible power of women in order to change the world.”
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