One push of a secret button on this necklace gives women an instant escape from awkward situations: The jewelry automatically triggers a call to a woman’s cell phone, so she has a convenient excuse to walk away from unwanted attention at the bar or a bus stop. If things change from annoying to dangerous, holding down the button sends an emergency message to a friend with the victim’s exact GPS coordinates.
The Guardian Angel technology was designed by ad agency JWT Singapore, who were originally asked to create an educational campaign about date rape, but decided to go further than the usual series of ads and try to solve the problem more directly.
"While advertisements have impact, we pushed ourselves to see if we can come up something that could help women during those crucial moments," says Valerie Cheng, chief creative officer of JWT Singapore. "It needed to be something easily accessible, which led to the thought of jewelry. Then we thought, ‘How can we make it useful for this purpose?’"
The designers envisioned the fake phone call feature as especially useful for younger women trying to navigate the bar scene. "Some young women may not feel confident enough to tell a guy—especially one they know or think they may like, or is part of an extended social group—who’s starting to get drunk and too touchy to shove off," Cheng says. "Younger women are often more prone to worrying what everyone is going to say, that night or the next day. And those are the situations that can spiral out of control pretty fast."
While some cell phone apps can also fake a phone call, the jewelry might be a little easier to use discreetly. If the necklace is too obviously noticeable, or becomes so widely used that it's recognizable, the pendant can also be worn as a bracelet and tucked under a sleeve. It's the kind of thing that could easily be used in more innocuous situations—as a temporary escape from an argument or boring conversation with a coworker or an overbearing neighbor.
In truly dangerous situations, the device can't necessarily prevent assault, since a friend or family member might not be able to arrive quickly enough to help. It might also make sense to connect it directly to local police, rather than to send a message to friends who might be asleep (or drunk) when you most need help. But in the worst case scenario, when a victim might not otherwise be found, it can obviously provide important clues. And unlike pepper spray, it's something that's always within reach and easy to use.