These Two Latina Co-founded A Device that Helps Sexual Assault Victims


Two young Latina women are taking charge and running a business that helps sexual assault victims. When Jacqueline Ros founded Revolar she had her sister in mind, who was a victim of sexual assault. Andrea Perdomo grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and witnessed her grandmother get kidnapped. They closely understand how dangerous it is for women to exist and how important it is to finds ways to end sexual assault. Recently with the constant breaking news related to sexual assault, it prompted a movement called #MeToo. This movement has sparked a national discussion of what it means to be a woman in a society where women's fears are not taken seriously. Jacqueline and Andrea hope that with Revolar, a wearable GPS tracking device with multiple functionalities, will help victims be taken at their word since it offers substantial proof of fear of safety and location. We spoke to Jacqueline more about this wearable device and Revolar's future plans.

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Revolar has been personally inspired by both co-founder’s Jacqueline and Andrea’s family members experiencing sexual assault. Are there other stories of someone who has used Revolar to help them in a situation dealing with sexual assault?

Yes. Many of our Revolarians (it’s what we call members of our Revolar community/customers) are survivors of either sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or intimate partner violence. Many of them struggle with PTSD from past assaults and leverage the Revolar Instinct personal safety device as a self-care tool. For example, one of our Revolarians survived an attack from her then boyfriend. She now uses Revolar everyday to check-in with her family when she leaves for work, gets to work, and leaves work as he has gotten out and she is afraid he will come back for her. Others hold it in their hands as they leave work or studying late at night and use the yellow alert so that someone is virtually walking them home. The peace of mind and empowerment it brings survivors is one of the reasons I feel compelled to keep fighting for them.

My favorite part of growing Revolar is realizing how many different vulnerable communities feel empowered by Revolar. It’s not just survivors of assault, but people with chronic illnesses or disabilities who say Revolar has improved their quality of life.

We’ve seen from the news a lot of women who have bravely come forward to tell their stories of sexual assault so much that it has started a movement called #MeToo. Do you think that with Revolar, it will help women talk about those incidents of sexual assault?

This question reminds me of when I first told my little sister the idea for Revolar. I asked her if it would have made a difference. Even while typing this, her response gives me goosebumps. She cried and said, “Yes it would have helped because I couldn’t reach for my phone. But even if you hadn’t gotten there in time...I would have felt less alone. You could’ve asked me what happened.” See most survivors, like my little sister, don’t tell people right away. We found out a year later what had happened to her but watched her struggle and not understand why for a whole year. She was only 14. Our goal with Revolar is to start important conversations. By gifting someone a Revolar you are telling them, “I love you, I want to be there for you, let’s talk if you need it.”

My hope is that Revolar helps survivors to heal by putting power back into their hands and that this can help prevent further assaults by allowing them to reach out faster than they could with a phone, and we want to educate communities on how we can learn to create a culture of consent.

How does Revolar differentiate from other wearable devices made for women safety?

First and foremost, it’s a device built by minorities for minorities. Most people in Tech have a hard time relating to the female or minority experience. My co-founder and I always say, “we built this for us because we know that fear.”  I know what it’s like to feel afraid walking at night, I know what it’s like to be assaulted. We built Revolar to be a simple but highly intuitive and an empathetic tool.

For example, after interviewing hundreds of survivors of assault we kept hearing the same narrative, “My instincts were telling me something was wrong but….I felt stuck, I felt like I would have been crying wolf, I didn’t want to be rude.” Because of their stories we realized we needed more than just a panic button, we need a tiered system that could let people reach out when they were uncomfortable so they could trust their instincts. That’s why Revolar has a yellow alert that can make your phone ring, so they can trust their instincts and break up those moments. I hope people when they use Revolar can feel the love and hard work we put behind bringing this product to market.

What new features can we expect from Revolar in the future?

We are thrilled to announce that in early 2018 we are launching 911 capabilities so that on red alerts users can directly reach 911. We are also releasing jewelry accessories so you can wear your Revolar in more fun ways!

What’s one message you want to give out to Latinos looking to buy a device such as Revolar?

I hope you love Revolar. Revolar means to take flight again in Spanish and is an ode to survivors and their incredible strength when they pick themselves back up and I hope they feel how much we care with how we built our product. But most importantly, if you do get a Revolar please communicate with us! I love it when Revolarians call me to give me feedback or shoot me an email. We are here to serve, and the best way we can is if you become a part of the process.

Are there any projects that Revolar supports or is connected to that gears towards helping women?

Absolutely. In the past we partnered with the National Domestic Violence Hotline so donated devices to women in need. Currently, we are working locally with different groups to inspire other young women and Latinas to get involved in tech and make their mark! Community involvement and give back is at the core of who we are.

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