A team of BYU students created an app with a mission to prevent sexual assault and dating violence. The app is called Sava, and is intended to help people who may feel uncomfortable or unsafe on a date.
The app was created by co-founders Carolyn Allen, April Teames, Meredith Von Feldt, Breann Hunt. The group met in the BYU Sandbox Startup Accelerator, They said they teamed up to empower and protect women, through the app.
“You can receive a fake text or a fake call to get you out of the situation,” said Carolyn Allen, the CEO of Sava.
She said the app is especially helpful for people on first dates after meeting on a dating app. Users can set up Sava to check in on you throughout the date.
"If you put that "thumbs down" you're not feeling safe, then you can set up beforehand for SAVA to respond in a certain way,” said Allen.
Through the app users can contact police if in danger, or have the app send an exit strategy, a disguised text or call that has a preloaded message of your choice.
The app mimics what a lot of people are already doing in text groups with their friends.
"Me and my roommates have an emoji system, and when we text each other a specific emoji, it means call me right now because I'm nervous and want out of the situation,” said Meredith Von Feldt, the CTO of Sava.
But with Sava, she said you don't have to rely on anyone else, because it's automated.
The students said they get questions from some wondering why an excuse is needed at all, asking why people can’t just get up and leave?
But the Sava team said they did research, and spoke with sexual assault survivors, trauma and therapy responders, sexual assault researchers, and people who are on the dating scene. They found that people like to have a socially acceptable way to leave an uncomfortable date.
They said the automated exit strategies are just the start of the app.
"In the future we want to include location services or contacting a user's emergency contact,” said April Teames, Head of Design of Sava.
The Sava team said their long term goal is to make dating safer with sexual assault prevention resources and education. Sava is available now through your app store.