“Obama is right, The fight against sexual assault is on is”
Last October my wife was working at a 4 star restaurant in downtown Cincinnati, when two female employees told her they had gotten followed to their car. One man even followed her all the way to her car and was only scared off by the screaming from the girl and the pepper spray.
At the end of my wife telling me the story I couldn’t help but ask where their husbands or boyfriends were during these terrifying times. “At work, or at least 20 minutes away,” my wife reminded me. My mind couldn’t stop thinking about how in this highly populated metropolitan area, women could get raped and no one would even know. I believed that many people who are near where these crimes are occurring would be willing to do something, if they only knew.
My wife also attends the University of Cincinnati as a full time student. Weeks after the restaurant story she received two emails back to back from the school about separate sexual assault attacks on two students. I thought to myself, that’s it, I’m doing something about this right now. I cannot be convinced, with my friends and myself in mind, that if there was a way to know someone needed help, that we would just continue to play PlayStation and do nothing.
So, I began on the long road of building a company. Building things isn’t foreign to me since I come from the independent film world and turn scripts into movies, but holy hell technology is on a different level. I had to read books like: The Lean Startup, Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer, The One Thing, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, and many many others. Early on I had a Co-founder, I attended countless entrepreneurial events in the city and we worked our way through many developers until finally grabbing the right one. (Did I mentioned this is bootstrapped?)
Nothing bites the hardest like someone saying “I totally don’t get it.” I had to realize some people were scared shitless of notifying someone they needed help. They would think the person who comes to help was in cahoots with the person looking to do harm to them. (I actually heard this). So I had to remind people we live in the real world and not a living version of horror flick. I’d imagine these people visualizing themselves falling as they try to escape, only to look up and get be-headed by the accomplice. People could also imagine terrible things happening in the car of an Uber or during a stay with Airbnb. There’s always risk, but the rewards and convenience outweigh these small chances.
So here I am a year later. My Co-founder dropped out because of his “real job” and my developer has a working MVP. What makes me continue to chase this dream after having no money, fatigued, sleepless night and 12hr days? This is bigger than me. Call me crazy but I see a world where if you need help you can just “Whistle” and connect with those in your close proximity, and receive a helping hand. That’s the name by the way, Whistle. Thanks to my wife.
Then two days ago my mother told me something that gave me even more fuel. She told me how she was raped attending a college party. My mother is a fighter and I knew her roots went deep, but this caught me by surprise. I have a 4yr old daughter and if this had happen to her I would never view life the same. I cannot allow someone’s future mother to have to tell a similar story to her kids. You’re right Mr. President, it is on us to protect one another. We (that means you too) cannot let this continue. Now it’s personal between myself and sexual assault, and I don’t like to lose. I made a video here about our app, and you can contribute to our crowdfunding campaign here to help to bring this app to life. Join me in this fight.