100 Voices app speaks out about sexual assault

By: Farhin Lilywala, Staff Writer

Anonymous voices are coming together to raise awareness about sexual assault, as college students from across the nation have united through a campaign called 100 Voices Strong, which kicked off on Friday.

100 Voices Strong uses a mobile app called Flyy, which allows people to anonymously speak to each other — similar to the popular app Yik Yak, with recorded voices as the means of communication. There is also a voice pitch changing option if a person does not want to be recognized.

Stanford University senior Jared Wolens started 100 Voices Strong with the hope of reaching universities across the country. He has done this and more, garnering support from prestigious schools domestically such as NYU and Columbia, and internationally including the National University of Singapore and Oxford University. They plan to involve all 106 colleges that are currently under federal investigation for sexual assault.

Serena Pham, a volunteer organizer and senior at University of San Francisco, said there is no platform online where victims can express themselves, empower others to do so and foster community while maintaining their anonymity.

“It is the only app where people consider each other like a ‘family’ because the support system is so strong,” Pham said.

Pham said the campaign solely uses Flyy because of it’s anonymizing capabilities, while also fostering a community.

“We want everyone to come out and speak their truths,” Pham said. “We want to connect people that are going through the same struggles or trying to bring change to other people’s struggles and we want the world to hear about it. We want to empower people to voice themselves and connect through voice.”

Student Senators Council chair and Gallatin senior Michael Hengerer said while the campaign does little to implement policy change in addressing sexual abuse, it is important to raise awareness and have students talking about the issue.

“People tend to forget that sexual abuse will not go away because of policy change, and that everyone on campuses around the world need to take action in order for us to reach a point in time where sexual respect is the norm,” Hengerer said.

Several anti-sexual assault campaigns such as End Violence Against Women, International, Allies of Truth, Start by Believing Campaign and the Sexual Assault Clinic have also shown their support.

CAS sophomore Tiffany Ye said hearing a voice behind someone else’s story just makes it that much more personable and relatable.

“Hopefully, as people share their stories, others will be inspired or grow more comfortable with doing the same,” Ye said.

A version of this story appeared in the Monday, Oct. 26 print issue. Email Farhin Lilywala at news@nyunews.com. 

Original article: http://www.nyunews.com/2015/10/26/100-voices-app-speaks-out-about-sexual-assault/

Clips Fall 2015 Washington Square News

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