New apps to promote consent

Michael Lissack, professor of Design and Innovation at Tongji University and an affiliate member of Boston University, helped create a suite of four apps with a research institute working to “nudge sexual behavior in the right direction.”

The “We-Consent App Suite” consists of the “We-Consent App,” the “What-About-No App,” the “I’ve-Been-Violated App” and the “Party-Pass App.”

The first app serves as a way to vocally record sexual consent and store that agreement to be only available to authorities if an investigation is necessary.

“The person initiating contact should pull out the ‘We Consent’ app,” Lissack said. “It takes all of 18 to 20 seconds.”

The other three apps address the recording of saying “no” to sexual relations, a way for victims to document being violated for the authorities, and an app to remind users to discuss sex before engaging with potential partners at parties.

“When I was (college) age, the condom manufacturers didn’t realize they were difficult to open, so they were difficult to open,” Lissack said. “If (my generation) can survive the three minutes of doing that, this generation should spend the 20 seconds using this app. If it’s a mood killer, you probably shouldn’t be doing it anyway.”

He said the app developers are looking for schools to pilot the app suite and offer the set free for a year.

The total suite will be between $3 and $5 per student, but Lissack said the victim app will always be free.

“The whole point of the apps is to get people to talk to one another,” he said. “You may think you’re communicating, but you may not be. Humans were given the gift of language. You need to talk.”