Aspire News is not actually a news reader, instead it’s a cleverly disguised app for helping those trapped in abusive relationships. It allows users to quickly shoot off an emergency message to trusted loved ones, if the need ever arises, and is packed with resources helps those in need when they need it most.
Created by the When Georgia Smiled foundation (which is run by Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin McGraw) Aspire News is available as a free download for Android and iPhone.
Fake Reading The News
Aspire News is designed to fool anyone peeking over your shoulder or snooping around your phone that this is just another news app, and does a pretty convincing job.
At any time, you can tap three times on the top part of the app to send off an emergency message to your trusted contacts, which we’ll show you how to set up later. This simple step gives survivors a way to alert trusted loved ones in the event that they really need help at that point in time.
While anyone in serious immediate danger should still call the emergency services, Aspire News can offer another alternative for when that is not possible.
Having an emergency contact app that is undetectable could be incredibly helpful to someone in a relationship where they don’t feel completely safe. Domestic violence is complicated, and having a lifeline such as this could provide some peace of mind to survivors, and access to information they might not otherwise be able to get. Since domestic violence survivors often have their online activities tracked by their abuser, the hidden nature of the app is crucial.
Once you get past the newsy facade, the Help section reveals the true purpose of the app, which is accessed by tapping the three-line icon in the upper left. Here, you’re able to set up emergency contacts, access articles on domestic violence, and contact domestic violence prevention organizations who can offer real help.
I found the app a little slow in my usage, but that’s entirely beside the point here. The beauty of this app is that it understands that survivors can’t always look for help and resources out in the open, and it recognizes that hiding these options behind a news app can mean the world to those living in fear.
Setting Up Emergency Contacts
Under the Get Help section, you have the option to add trusted contacts. This is a list of people who will be alerted if you ever send out a distress signal from the app, which as mentioned previously, can be done from any place in the app by tapping the top bar three times. You can prepare your distress message under the Trusted Contacts section, and you can decide if you want to send your location with it or not.
The developers recommend that you talk to your trusted contacts before sending any messages so that they know what to look out for in case of an emergency. Below Trusted Contacts, you have the option to view helpful resources in case you want to reach out to an actual organization.
Under Help Resources, the app has links to the websites of 17 different sexual assault or domestic violence prevention organizations. Clicking on any of the titles will take you to that organization’s website within a browser built in to the app, which is smart because then the browsing history of your default browser cannot be tracked to find these websites. You can also tap the phone icon to the right to call the help center of that organization.
Some of the most notable resources here include the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, and the . You can visit When Georgia Smiled’s website for even more resources.
You can also check out Verizon’s HopeLine app for connecting survivors to valuable resources.
Learn About The Cause And What You Can Do
Under the Help section, there is also a Get Educated section which opens up a familiar-looking news interface, but this time with real articles about domestic violence. At any time, you can tap on the X in the upper right to quit out of this section and go back to the Top News section, in case you feel someone looking over your shoulder. Again, this app continues to look out for those who don’t have the freedom of perusing whatever they want without worrying about who’s watching.
The articles, all ten of them, are pretty old blog posts from Dr. Phil’s blog. It’s disappointing not to see more recent works from a variety of sources here, but they are still useful posts. As easy as it is for a person to spy on their significant other, having a less easily trackable information here is a big plus.
There are some areas that could be improved here (such as the inclusion of full news stories) but on the whole this app accomplishes its goal of providing domestic violence survivors with access to information and a discreet method of contacting loved ones in an emergency. It’s rare that we see an app that has such a direct and positive effect on people’s lives.
You Can Get Help, And You Can Get Through This
For survivors of any type of abuse, it is important to remember that you are not at fault, and you can get help. Never lose hope that things can get better. Any readers who want to help out can donate their phone to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence so that they can recycle it to help survivors stay connected to important resources, stay away from their abusers, and protect their children.
Download: Aspire News for Android [No Longer Available] / Aspire News for iPhone (free)
What do you think of Aspire News? Any other resources you might recommend for those stuck in abusive relationships? Let us know in the comments.