Video: New technology aims to combat sexual assaults on campus

(NBC) — It’s a sobering statistic: one in five women are sexually assaulted or raped while in college.

Something that’s on the minds of many as students head back to campus this fall.

But some new tools are aiming to help combat the problem using technology.

“I consider sexual assault as a disease in our society,” said Dr. Annelise Mennicke, UNC Charlotte School of Social Work.

A disease that an MIT researcher hopes can be cured with wearable technology.

“You can wear it anywhere on bra, panties”

The Intrepid Smart Sticker can sense if clothing is being removed, even if the victim is unconscious.

Manisha Mohan of Intrepid said, “A victim is unable to stand up for themselves and we want to cater to those kind of situations.”

It connects with a smartphone app that can contact five people in the case of an emergency.

It’s the newest addition to the safety device market.

The Roar Athena is a wearable device that can alert trusted contacts of location and status.

“And then the user can see where you are as well as call in real time.”

The Revolar Instinct is a similar device that’s more like a key chain with a button to send for help.

“Before a bad feeling becomes a dangerous situation.”

There’s even a date-rape-detecting nail polish in development called “undercover colors.”

Dr. Mennicke  added, “We continue to try to change how victims act, and the only person who can stop it is the perpetrator.”

Dr. Mennicke has been working on sexual assault prevention for more than seven years.

She says while these devices may be helpful tools it’s going to take more to put an end to sexual violence.

“If we just shifted from how to protect a victim to how to we equip a bystander, I  think we could make some real progress to keep these crimes from occurring.”

The technology can add peace of mind.

But the responsibility of prevention is on everyone.

To learn more about bystander intervention, consent education and survivor support, go to

Sexual assault statistics:


Ford, Soto-marquez (2015)

2,345 women in 21 institutions

25% of women sexually assaulted while in college

Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation (2015)

514 women in several hundred institutions

20% of undergraduate women sexually assaulted while in college

Association of American Universities (AAU) (2015)

89,115 women in 27 institutions

23% of undergraduate women sexually assaulted while in college

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (2016)

15,000 women in 9 institutions

25% of undergraduate women sexually assaulted while in college (2106)

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