Trigger Free: An App for Survivors of Sexual Violence


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Trigger Free is an app idea five colleagues from mobile agency Future Workshops, London, are working to make a reality.

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Trigger Free: An App for Survivors of Sexual Violence

  1. 1. Trigger Free Our company, Future Workshops, is developing a mobile tool to help people* who can be triggered by sexual violence in movies to be aware that a film may contain potentially triggering content with instantly-available, specific, up-to-date, and trustworthy information as soon as a movie is *And their loved ones
  2. 2. Presentation structure Part 1: application review Part 2: use cases Part 3: implementation & conclusion
  3. 3. Part 1: Application Review • Application description ‣ The problem - Movies, PTSD and trauma - How Trigger Free can help - Examples ‣ Target group ‣ Existing similar apps ‣ Where will content come from? ‣ Why mobile? • Summary and challenges
  4. 4. The Problem Movies, PTSD and Trauma Survivors of sexual violence who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or its symptoms can be easily triggered by violent or suggestive content in films and media. This content can cause great physical and emotional discomfort, often for a prolonged period of time. Triggers can cause flashbacks to personal traumatic experiences. The responses to triggers (such as dissociation, shouting, crying, or physical sickness) can easily alienate the survivor from others. How Trigger Free can help This app will allow survivors to identify potentially triggering media before being exposed to its potential effects. It will also allow survivors to share their experiences of triggering media and have access to a supportive community of like-minded others.
  5. 5. How Trigger Free can help Triggers have physical and psychological ramifications Alienating, lonely Ability to look up movie before exposure to it and avoid potential trigger Access to others with shared experiences; feeling that you are understood Loss of control Common experiences Trigger Free Response User is warned about potential re-traumatization; Option to actively warn others of triggers Addresses Addresses Addresses
  6. 6. Here are some quotations from people who have been involuntarily exposed to triggering movies. (Source: "Blow was another movie that completely freaked me out. […] When the movie cut abruptly and with no warning whatsoever to the scene where the daughter is being prostituted for drugs, I got up and walked out and got physically sick. I felt physically nauseous for several days afterward. " "I watched [the film] when it first came out with a friend. We walked out to the car afterwards and I was feeling weird, kind of off and disoriented. I wailed on the inside of my car. freaked her out pretty badly. I never knew what was 'wrong' with me or why I did that until recently." The quotations shows that survivors a) want to share their experiences with like-minded individuals b) already use online tools to do so c) are willing to share movie titles, specific reasons for triggers, and even the specific effects the film had on their well-being. The Problem
  7. 7. Problem this app will solve The problem this app will solve is perhaps best described in the following quotation: "Any movie or book with a rape triggers me. Unfortunately, I usually don't know ahead of time that it is coming or I would not see the movie at all." (emphasis added)
  8. 8. Target Group 1. Primary target group: Mobile phone users who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and watch films. Most users will be under the age of 30. Target group size: Our target group is a large one. According to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. This results in 213,000 sexual assault victims per year in the U.S. alone. Considering that up to 72% of rape and assault isn’t reported, the total size of the primary target group is immense. Age breakdown: • 80% of victims are under age 30 • 44% of victims are under 18 • 29% of victims are aged 12-17
  9. 9. Target Group 2. Secondary target group: Partners, family members, and friends of trauma survivors who use mobile phone applications and are interested in helping their loved one(s) avoid triggering content and re-traumatization while watching movies. Partners, spouses, family, and friends are often forgotten secondary victims of post-traumatic stress. This app will allow them a tangible way to become involved with their loved one’s experiences.
  10. 10. Why mobile? This app must be accessible on a mobile device for the following reasons: • Easy access on the go – While renting a movie in a rental store or at cinema – While traveling (prior to watching a film on a flight, at a friend’s home, on vacation) – Easily and quickly flag and comment on triggering films, regardless of location or proximity to computer • Discretion and privacy – No need to identify as a survivor or support person by making activity public – Minimized fear of others looking at the screen in a public place – No qualms of using someone else’s computer • Accessibility for frequent mobile users – Users under 18% are 44 percent of target group. Those individuals are more likely to already be heavy users of mobile phones and be familiar with apps –80% of users are under age 30 and are also likely to own a mobile phone –PTSD commonly leads to suicidal tendencies, teens aged 12-18 are also a large portion of sexual violence survivors. The app has potential to include further resources that could aid with suicidal thoughts.
  11. 11. Existing similar apps There are existing apps that attempt to offer guidance and resources to individuals suffering from PTSD (for example: PTSD Coach). Outside of the app world, there are websites that attempt to warn against triggering movies and forums that offer a stage for discussion, but I have not found any apps that offer either or both those components in a mobile solution. What will this app do differently from existing resources? • Offer a targeted solution to a particular problem — inability to enjoy films without fear of being triggered. • Provide an accessible, mobile solution. • Offer updated information that is easily accessible through a search functionality. • Allow community around this issue and empower users to help each other.
  12. 12. Where will content come from? The content for this app will be derived from two main sources: 1. In the first phase, external database(s). Some examples are: IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes (for movie titles, year, details, etc). 2. In the second phase, input from users. When users see a movie that triggers them, they will submit it and rate it. The motivations for this include wanting to share an alienating experience with others, create community as a way of healing, desire to prevent others from re-experiencing trauma.
  13. 13. Summary Past trauma can turn a simple leisurely activity, like watching a film, into a dreaded experience, with prolonged physical and emotional consequences. Trigger Free will give survivors of sexual violence and other trauma a chance to re-gain control over the effects of choosing to watch films during their free time.
  14. 14. Part 2: Use Cases • Primary Scenario: ‣ User wants to search for a film she has not yet watched • Other use cases: ‣ Search for a film she has watched, which triggered her ‣ Secondary use cases
  15. 15. Meet Sara. She is a 22 years old, full-time Legal and Political Theory student at University College London • Lives in London with her parents to save money • Has a boyfriend of two years — Eric. He is the only person who knows about her assault. • Never leaves the house without her mobile phone • Always has a lot going on between classes, part time job at GBK, and training to be a yoga instructor • A huge fan of psychological thrillers and sappy dramas Key goals: • Feel and seem in control • Feel safe • Not let her PTSD take up much of her time • Have positive relationships with her partner, friends and family Primary Scenario
  16. 16. Company Confidential Use case: Sara wants to look up a film she has not yet watched • Context: Sara meets up with her two best friends for a study session that quickly derails into hanging out and ranting about their boyfriends. Laura suggests they should watch a movie. She has heard that the Swedish adaption of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is too good to miss. Nika suggests watching an episode of “Friends” instead. She doesn’t have time for a movie. • Use scenario: Sarah launches the Trigger Free app to look up “A Girl with A Dragon Tattoo.” She needs to do this quickly and discreetly. She searches for the movie title and immediately sees that it has been flagged by other Trigger Free users as highly triggering. She tells Laura and Nika that she would rather watch “Friends” too. Primary Scenario
  17. 17. Company Confidential The second most common use case is that Sara wants to rate and comment on a film she has watched, which triggered her. She will access the app to do so in order to a) warn others of the triggering potential of the movie she watched and b) to get the sense that there is something she can do about the unexpected negative experience. SECONDARY Use cases: Options •User wants to update her settings •User wants to add film to a “safe list” Other Use Cases
  18. 18. Part 3: Implementation • Team, funding • Roadmap
  19. 19. Team & Funding Trigger Free is currently a hack day project supported by Future Workshops, where a team five colleagues are working to make it a reality.
  20. 20. Roadmap Pre-development: • Identify reliable data source • Obtain permission to use data Phase one features: • Look up a film • Vote on a film rating Phase two: • Add a film • Social features Project user stories from our internal project management system
  21. 21. Summary The Trigger Free app allows survivors of sexual assault to enjoy movies without fear of suffering a triggering experience. This protects them from setbacks in their recovery path as well as the physical and psychological discomfort that triggers may cause. By providing this service in the form of an app, survivors can quickly and discreetly check movie options for triggering content any time, any place. This app’s reach is unlimited to geographical area, and is so far limited only by its language. Further, it is a tool that can be used by the partners, family, and friends of survivors and can expand their support community from online to offline.
  22. 22. Who’s behind this? My name is Jenny Grinblo. My background is in user experience design and sociology, with particular interest in gender and sexuality. I have been active in sexual violence awareness for over 6 years. I’m 25 years old and have been a survivor for fourteen years. Thank you for devoting time to consider Trigger Free!