Yalahwy: the app to counter sexual assault

by

Egyptian civil society fights back as sexual assault and harassment continue to plague citizens.

A new and free mobile phone application called Yalahwy, roughly translating to “Oh my God”, has recently been made to the public for those using the Android operating system. Its function is to track the user who, if in need of help, can signal a panic alarm that notifies the user’s contacts and Facebook friends that they are in trouble and in need of rescue. Yalahwy was created by the company Appkhana, and as creator Ahmed Al-Amer told TNN, “All that was needed is an app to put technology in service of a community need.”

One major instance in which this could be useful, and indeed life-saving, is if one enters a taxi cab.

Sad to say, but many women in Egypt have recounted stores of being harassed, kidnapped, assaulted and even raped by taxi drivers. It is true that a seemingly simple task such as transportation can pose serious dangers to personal safety. Additionally, as Al-Amer put it, “the app was created in response to the “increased occurrences of kidnapping and robbery along with the general feeling of uncertainty and lack of safety.”  All that was needed is an app to put technology in service of a community need.

Al-Amer said the app has had a great response, and that “the app downloads and usage are constantly increasing.”

So how does the app work?

(photo: yalahwyapp.appkhana.com)

It’s function and design are simple: the user inputs the start and end point and the estimated duration of the trip. Yalahwy servers then track the user’s location, and distribute an alert signal if triggered by the user, notifying friends of the exact location.

The application was created earlier this year. It is not yet available on the iPhone, but Al-Amer indicated that although “an exact release date is not available at the moment, the iPhone version is indeed on the way. The response we got for Android is really encouraging and we believe iOS users are going to love it as well.”

“We are really thrilled of the response we got; it means the app is doing exactly what we intended; community service.”