ReDawn is a mobile app and organisation built to put power into the hands of survivors of sexual violence.

Photo of Sofia Ongele
5 7

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Technology

Website or social media url(s) (optional): on Instagram @redawn_app on Twitter on Facebook

Date You Started Your Project Started

10 / 02 / 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I'm helping to solve the lack of resources and education available to survivors of sexual violence and the loved ones who would like to help them recover healthily. More specifically, only 19% of sexual violence survivors receive victim services (i.e. information, emotional support, help finding resources, and other assistance).

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We solve this problem with my mobile app, which serves as a platform to get 100% confidential advice in a conversational matter, with its primary functionality being a chatbot named Dawn. I felt like this was the most natural approach because people are just naturally conversational beings, and being able to talk to someone and knowing its impossible to get traced back to you can really make all the difference in a sensitive situation like this. Aside from that, I’ve included a tab that connects people to local resources that can help them in a time of crisis after the matter, a tab to log past incidents of abuse, and a tab dedicated to hotlines and 911, as those are always the most vital resources in times of immediate crisis and I felt it was important to lay that out in an accessible way while using the app.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

September 16th, 2018, one of my closest friends was drugged and raped. I wanted to help out in any way that I could, but I honestly had no idea where to begin, so I just resorted to vigorously googling everything. I also felt really scared, because I realised that I wouldn’t know what to do personally if anything happened to me and, just knowing myself, I would be too scared to reach out to anyone for advice. Three weeks later, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. I quickly came to the realisation that the system as it stood was stacked against us. Overwhelmed with rage, fear, and confusion, I couldn’t wrap my mind around how the road for abusers was paved with yellow bricks, while the road for survivors was barren, and unpaved. I felt that it was more important now than ever to have something that would give survivors a resource that would hopefully prevent these events.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...” video link! Please feel free to let me know if there's any issues with accessing it!

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When someone is faced with an incident of sexual violence, they can consult Dawn, who will walk them through various steps of the process and lend advice, giving the most relevant answers based on the responses to various questions. If Dawn suggests to visit a health center, one can easily navigate to the local resources tab and see what's near them, as well as directions, their website, and their contact information accessible at the click of a button. If Dawn suggests to call 911 (or another relevant hotline) one can navigate to the hotlines tab and click the service they would like to contact. Lastly, if one would like to not necessarily report , but have the information handy in case they would like to report, they can navigate to the reports tab and document the type of incident, the perpetrator, when it occurred, where it occurred, and details of what happened.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

My theory is that both the cultural stigma surrounding the subject and the feeling of surveillance that googling imposes prevent survivors from reaching out. With that being said, I believe that formatting the app as an anonymous yet conversational framework the app provides a comforting environment that eliminates the two factors that would prevent one from reaching out for help moreso than other in-person solutions would. Additionally, the consolidation of information in the app is the only one which exists on the App Store, where resources, advice, and reporting tools are accessible in one

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Survivors have thanked us for working on it, saying they wished something like this existed following a personal incident. While the MVP I have out is far from perfect, I'm happy to report we have over 400 users and 11,000 impressions on the app store.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

'm currently working on an update where users can upload relevant photos to further support their cases, as well as password protecting this tab for their privacy. Additionally, we'd love to better establish ReDawn as an organisation and strong presence on social channels by sharing authentic stories of survivors and advocating for more efficient sex education in schools. To make my vision a reality, I would love funding to officially establish 501(c)3 status for ReDawn as a non-profit organisation and further build its presence online and professionally with ad campaigns and partnerships, advising from non-profit leaders as well as tech professionals, and opportunities to advance and develop new skills (in branding, outreach, networking,)

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Brand Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others
  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Ashoka page or contact

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 66.7%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Savannah Grasmick

SOFIA ONGELE THE QUEEN. How many teens do you know that have made their own app! for something they are passionate about! and want to see change in! Not only is this showing your commitment to computer science and women in tech, but it is showing how diverse your knowledge and interests are. You are KILLING it I am so proud.

View all comments