ForElle, behind the project

A simple solution to women’s harassment

Apple Developer Academy | Federico II
4 min readMar 19, 2020


15 million of girls between 15 and 19 years old have suffered sexual violence all over the world. Only in Italy, nearly 7 million of women (31,5%), between 16 and 70 years old, have suffered this type of violence. For this reason, we asked about 400 women (mostly between 18 and 35 years old) to explain us what are the main concerns about a possible violence and who are the best people to ask for help in their opinion. About 54% of our sample said that they would ask a family member for help, almost the same data that we received from women who would ask the police for help. Why?

In many cases, a victim of harassment or in the worst cases of violence, has difficulty in finding psychological and later legal support. The primary motivation is the fear of possible consequences, combined with the fact that judicial time can be quite long and these types of situations can get worse at any time, and many women (very often) do not report. Another equally important point is the fear of not being believed and that, because of many data that may be misinterpreted or may not prove to be overwhelming, a lot of women may not be considered. This causes an additional problem. 400 women took part in our online survey, and the results show that many of them would have preferred to call a loved one first rather than the law enforcement, at least in the first instance, either because of a different timing of action (you can’t call the police if nothing is happened) is for a more congenial approach to them. From these data, it comes therefore the idea of wanting to connect relatives and loved ones to our potential victim, in order to create a net at least more secure from the emotional point of view, and for this reason, we have designed ForElle. Moreover, the concept of harassment is not only to be understood as physical harassment, but also (very often) psychological or, in some ways, even digital harassment. Stalking or yelling or insulting a person is one of the behaviours that can be associated with harassment, this is a territory that intervenes before a situation of violence in the strict sense, and at this juncture most of the subjects covered by our survey are very often found, and many of these situations result in far worse acts.

In order to solve these problems, we wanted to implement a system where a woman can immediately perform a simple action (pressing a button) to ask for help and receive as soon as possible some support by her favourite contacts. We choose to send support request to some favourite contacts instead of police mainly because our idea is to act in the moment before a possible crime, so it can be a big problem to alert the police with no reason, but also because from our survey we discovered that a lot of women would call friends or family and not the police. Considering that a woman can also support another woman, we designed our application to make the user both supported and supporter of someone else, so we have both functionalities in the same app.

Hard problems require simple solutions, and that’s why we came up with ForElle. The main focus has always been immediacy to require support and help people in need. ForElle is a mixture of simplicity, directness and usefulness. With the location tracking and the audio recording, women in need can require support in a simple and effective way just by pressing a button. Only one button.

Leveraging the power of the iOS device and its Apple Watch companion, ForElle is the perfect example of a simple solution to an important problem. With only one tap on the Apple Watch complication or in the iOS app, the user can send some help requests made of the user’s position (tracked almost in real time) and audio recorded by the user’s device. This ensures that the receiver has enough information that allows him to act in a proper way. Moreover, these information can also be used as proofs of a possible crime, so women won’t fear anymore the possibility of not being trusted by authorities. Sometimes, situations can escalate quickly in gravity, and actions have to be taken immediately. Pressing on the button more than once will allow the user to change the state of the help requests, giving his friends and family members an immediate feedback on the severity of the situation.

And remember:

if something is bigger than you, you have to be bigger than all”.

ForElle Ad. Chapel Music — Song: “Us” L’Orchestra Cinematique
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