A Virtual Zine Project
c/o Project Nia & Interrupting Criminalization

Explore snapshots of community-based safety strategies that expand our ideas about what keeps us safe.

One Million Experiments is...

︎︎︎ a place to browse community-based safety projects for inspiration, 

︎︎︎ a podcast featuring experiment creators,

︎︎︎ a zine series that highlights the nuts and bolts of particular projects, and

︎︎︎ an opportunity to share your projects.

Experiments updated at the beginning of the month. Follow @interruptcrim for news.


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[AGORA Media]


Company: Safe Squad

︎ Offered at no cost to participants
The idea of the Safe Squad app is that it doesn't blatantly look like a safety app, so that perpetrators of violence don't recognize it as such. It's designed to look like a calendar where you can input the time and location of an event you're attending, like a party or a date. But unlike other apps that allow friends to keep tabs on each other's whereabouts, "Safe Squad is not a location services app, as the reality is that not everyone wants to be constantly monitored or tracked," especially if they're concerned about an abuser tracking them down, Mercedes Molloy explained. Along with event details, you're also required to enter five emergency contacts, who become your "squad."

Then, at the end of an event, the app reminds you to let your squad know that you're safe by verifying your identity using a color-safe code. (The sequence of colors, specific to the user, is more difficult to hack than a four-digit passcode, Molloy said.) If you key in the color code incorrectly, the SOS messaging system on the app presumes something is wrong — like someone taking your phone who shouldn't have it — and sends out a message to everyone in your squad alerting them of your last location. If your phone dies before you can alert your emergency contacts that you're safe, the app will let them know your phone is dead and where you were last.

In creating the safe space of the app, Molloy has also created the Safe Squad community, both through social media and in-person events like the Safe Squad survivor makeover event, sponsored by Sephora last year. These circles are so crucial for survivors. "The healing and rebuilding aspect of it is more difficult than surviving," Jessica told POPSUGAR. "You're unlearning everything that you've been taught during abuse, and rewriting your story however you want."

Meeting fellow survivors can be fulfilling, because just being in a room with people who have had similar experiences often feels familiar and affirming, Julia Childs explained. "Empowerment comes from looking around and saying, 'It's not just me who has gone through this, and there is a path forward,'" Childs said. While trauma can make people feel like they've lost their power, that's not true. "Someone just made them believe they've lost their power," Childs explained. But she doesn't "give survivors power" in her therapy sessions. It's about helping people access their sense of self again, and being present in a community of other survivors can be really powerful for tapping into that.

But empowerment and security is just as important in your smaller circle of family and friends. If you're not a survivor, hold space for one and show up for one, Childs urged — and if you are, cultivating your safety squad to check in with regularly will help improve your well-being. "Identify those who feel safe in your life, and know that you're not alone," she said.

Excerpted From: A 19-Year-Old Survivor Created an App to Help People Who Have Experienced Trauma Feel Safe, Mara Santilli, Popsugar, August 27, 2020