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Sunday Mornings with Rania: When Georgia Smiled – The Must-Know App

Rania Mankarious
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Rania Mankarious

Rania Mankarious is executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston(Photo: lawellphoto.com)

I’m sitting at a hair salon and am taken by the women who come in and go out – all with smiles on their faces and exciting weekend plans. In the background, I can’t help but focus on the fashion shows in the waiting area. As model after model walks across the platform, I think about their lives and what they’ve endured to get where they are; but I also think about the growing power they have and the new workplace safeguards in place.

My mind goes to the recent headlines, of all the celebrity women and athletes who have finally broken through and pushed the #MeToo movement. Their powerful voices have moved mountains and we are thankful to them. And then I think of the recent political stories and the political wives who have allegedly been abused for years and are now saying #NoMore. With news media following their every move and communities rallying behind them, we stand behind their pleas for safety and their call to action.  

It all reminds me that in a blink of an eye, technology and social media have given us a platform for outcry that supersedes all other avenues we used to have. But that said, this morning, I can’t help but think about another group of women . . . women who are so engulfed in their abuse that they can hashtag all they want, outcry all they want but who know that nothing in their lives will change.

These women have no social media followers, no cameras and no media tracking their every word. On the contrary, one wrong outcry for them means more abuse at home. In addition to them, I think about all those teens who are so broken that today, right now, they are actively taking steps to walk into what will be an abusive relationship just so they have “a” relationship to call their own.

What about all those women? I don’t want us to forget them. So, this week, I want to remind myself and all of us about what’s currently available as well as new technology that they must know of to stay safe.

  • Keep talking: It’s important to keep talking about healthy relationships as well as the signs of abusive relationships. Just because the topic is mainstream, it doesn’t mean that the average mom, in the average city, has been saved. Read more on healthy relationships. 
  • Continue listening: Those suffering from abusive or controlling relationships give signs – they may be verbal or physical or social, but they are there. We must continue listening. Read more on signs of abuse.  
  • Learn about options: Let’s not forget what the options are for battered and abused women. In order to get help, they must have a thought-out, very strategic plan in place which includes money saved, a place to go (including friends, family, a new apartment or home or shelter) - measures in place to protect their whereabouts, plans for children and animals and so much more. Learn more here. 
  • Study changes in technology: There is technology being introduced to help battered women. An app I have really grown to like is called When Georgia Smiled. This incredible app is downloaded on your phone under the name “The Aspire News App” and was recently voted one of the two “best apps for domestic violence prevention.” On its face, the app contains Yahoo! Powered summaries of top stories in news, sports and entertainment. In reality, this potentially life-saving app exists so that with a touch of a button, victims of abuse can secretly ping others for help. 
  • Share stories with our youth: It is critical to share stories with our youth so that they can learn from those ahead of them. Talk about how abuse can happen in relationships at home or the workplace, in an age-appropriate manner. Share the signs and remind them that no matter what, they always have a voice and options to get help.  

As we witness this unique time in women’s history, we applaud and are so thankful to those who always had a platform and are now using it. My sincerest hope and concern remains, however, with those who endure abuse in a life very much lived under the radar. It is for them that I write and hope that we will continue to use our voice, learn the signs and share the technology that can save them. Please join me and share with those in your lives. 

For more information on Crime Stoppers of Houston, go to crime-stoppers.org and follow Crime Stoppers on Facebook. Have topics in mind that you’d like Rania to write about? Email her directly at rmankarious@crime-stoppers.org. Connect with Rania on Instagram and Twitter. Read past Sundays with Rania posts here.

Editor's Note: Views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Buzz Magazines.

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