Domestic violence survivor creates app
The National Domestic Violence Hotline began collecting data on the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence victims and survivors in March 2020.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, there was a more than 9 percent increase in total contacts received from March 16 to May 16, 2020. During that same time period, 6,210 total contacts answered by the hotline cited COVID-19 as a reason for the contact.
Additionally, the Hotline receives more than 500,000 calls, texts and chats every year. Calls mentioning COVID-19 as a condition of a survivor’s experience, make up about 7 percent of all the contacts received.
One domestic violence survivor has created an app to help others who are experiencing or who have experienced domestic violence situations.
Lisa R. Jenkins was in an abusive relationship for 21 years and she has been out of that relationship for more than 7 years. In the course of healing from her experiences, she started writing books. Then, she realized, a lot of people had also been through what she experienced. She decided to create the Slipout app, to help others going through domestic violence.
She launched the app in September 2020.
“For me, the story isn’t in what happened, the story is in how I got out of it,” she said.
Jenkins went to grad school to study mental health counseling because she wanted to gain the technical knowledge to help people in domestic violence situations. She also wanted to help people in toxic relationships.
Jenkins discovered that there are programs where people can get assistance helping them out of relationships where there’s domestic violence, but once out, there is little to no help to address the mental healing aspect of it all.
“The main focus of the app is domestic violence, but in the course of building it, I wanted to address after the abuse and have something that even if you aren’t dealing with domestic abuse or don’t know someone dealing with domestic abuse, you can still find benefit in the app,” she said.
Jenkins said she learned to love herself, and also that everybody needs somebody, words of encouragement or support. The app has push notifications that have words of encouragement. There are self-care check-ins for physical, social, mental and emotional self-care, as well as a checklist for a safe exit. There is also a part that details the cycle of violence.
Jenkins said she made the app free to use and didn’t require a log in because she wanted people to get access. Being able to easily explain why the app is on a person’s phone, was another goal.
Jenkins went on to say that what she wants people to get from the app is that any form of abuse – financial, physical, emotional -- is not okay. People deserve better and if people find themselves in an abusive relationship, there is life after it, Jenkins added.
“I want to be the face of life after trauma. I’ve written six books, I’ve gone to grad school, I created an app, all by myself, I put my daughter through college, all by myself. I just want to give some kind of encouragement to people. I just want to help people through it, but I want to actually show them after that, there is other life.”
Jenkins acknowledged the numbers for domestic abuse and violence have increased because of COVID-19. She said now those people are stuck at home, with their abusers.
Jenkins said she has gotten a lot of positive responses about the app and added since it launched in September 2020, it has been downloaded more than 900 times in 27 countries.
“I never imagined it would cross the United States. It has been downloaded in Barbados, Japan, Malaysia. I just never imagined it would go that far,” she said. “It shows the need is much greater than I could even imagine.”
The Slipout is available in the App Store on IPhone or Google Play.