Interview With Nancy Schwartzman and Deb Levine, Winners of the White House “Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge”

Hollaback! got the chance to chat with the creators of a newly released smart phone app, designed with college students in mind, to keep people connected with their friends as a way to prevent violence before it happens. The “Circle of 6” app is available free to download from iTunes. Find out more details about this app here!

Where did the idea for creating the “Circle of 6” mobile app come from? What inspired your collaboration?

Nancy Schwartzman, founder of The Line Campaign, brought the Apps Against Abuse challenge to Deb Levine’s attention. Deb is the founder of ISIS, Inc.. Both women have had a deep commitment to ending violence against women, to working with youth and young adults, and to using 21st century communication to achieve these ends. Nancy brought in Thomas Cabus, international award-winning designer to the team, and Deb found Christine Corbett Moran, an MIT-trained engineer on an mWomen (mobile women) listserv. That’s the Circle of 6 team!

Congratulations on winning the the White House’s “Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge”, last month! What do you think set the Circle of 6 app apart from the other proposals in the competition?

Circle of 6 has two parts: a public pledge campaign to end dating violence and sexual assault in your own communities ( and a mobile app that college students can use with their friends for in-the-moment support. The look and feel for the app is definitely created for 18-29 year olds with a hip, purple based design using “everyday” icons, rather than the more traditional look for safety in red using icons that represent danger.

You have mentioned previously that there may be possible add-ons, following the release of the Circle of 6 app. Do you have any ideas yet on how this app may be expanded?

We have built the app such that it can be modularized for other populations such as teens, U.S. immigrant communities, and international women.

What is the ideal long-term goal for this mobile app on college campuses? How will you measure your success?

We are aiming to reach 30,000 women in the U.S. in our first year. We will measure success by the number of downloads, usage of the app, press coverage, and pledges on our Facebook page.

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