'The Purple PocketBook' App By Alicia Carr Helps Women Escape Abusive Relationships

The app store is not just for games and dating apps; it can also save lives, thanks to Alicia Carr’s app The Purple PocketBook. With information about laws, shelters, and escape routes for women in abusive relationships, all on a discreet platform so that an abuser can never catch the victim using it, The Purple PocketBook can be a godsend for women stuck in dangerous situations.

The free app provides a questionnaire for women to identify their situations, contact information for local shelters, and advice for keeping social media accounts secure. It also comes in six languages and does not require Internet access to use.

Carr, 51, taught herself to code in 2012 and created the app two years later, she said in an interview with Hypepotamus:

In 2012, I decided I wanted to be a app developer after meeting a young man who was 16 years old. I asked how he got the funds to get the first version of the iPad and he told me he was a millionaire after developing the app. I said to myself, “I want to do that.” A friend of mine got me started by learning Objective C. After many books and online courses, I started working on the Purple PocketBook in January 2014 and finished the first version in March 2014. After a month of submitting the app to Apple, it finally got approved on May 2, 2014.

She makes it sound easy! But this should come as no surprise, since Carr has spent various parts of her life taking apart and building computers and designing websites, the first of of which gave African American authors a place to sell their books.

Her motivations for creating The Purple PocketBook, however, are more personal than just a love for technology. She writes on The Purple PocketBook's website:

I have been an advocate against domestic violence since I was a child. Being a child of domestic violence and seeing my mother being abused was very difficult for me to accept and understand. It confused me more when I also found that my aunt almost died during an incident when her boyfriend stabbed her several times. All of this as a child, seeing my mother and my aunt being abused changed my life and my attitude. It made me realize It could either weaken me or make me stronger. I choose strength.

Carr goes on to describe a friend she helped escape from domestic violence, who sadly was subsequently murdered by the father of her child. Driven to stop tragedies like this, Carr volunteered at a domestic violence center. But that still wasn't enough, so she became a certified life coach. But no, that was still not enough, so she then became an iOS developer and created her app. Is there anything this woman does not do?

Carr provides another addition to the list of women who are not only thriving in the tech industry but also changing it for the better. The Purple PocketBook is a testament to both her impressive self-taught technical skills and her compassion for victims of crimes that have touched her.

Download The Purple PocketBook for free on the iTunes app store.

Images: Romana Correale/Flickr; The Purple PocketBook