According to Fuller, the app could be a more effective way to address the issue of positive consent. “This app or this concept of consent, whether it’s on an app or otherwise, that protects everybody. It doesn’t protect everybody in every situation and it’s not the entire solution, but the reality is consent is by far the biggest issue that we are facing in matters of intimate violence.”
He added, “We need to have some pretty confronting conversations in this space because this is not a matter of just saying that this crime is a problem. This crime is increasing every day exponentially.”
In later interviews with 2GB, he conceded that the app could be “a terrible idea, but maybe in 10 years’ time that will be seen as the normal dating [method. If you swipe left and right and there’s another option if you want to have intimacy. It certainly wouldn’t be an app that would be run by government. I would see it would be something like the technology that people use now to date.”
It’s concerning that, in a week that’s seen allegations of rape inside Parliament House vocalised, including a historical sexual assault allegation levelled against a man in one of Australia’s highest positions of office, this is the answer police have come forward with. This, too, after the world united in collective mourning at the murder of Sarah Everard who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a policeman, only to then have police violently break up peaceful vigils held in her honour. Just yesterday the world awoke to news of a brutal shooting of Asian women in Atlanta, which saw six women murdered in a shooting spree.
While now is definitely the time to combat sexual violence and Fuller’s intentions are well placed, the app only presents the possibility of placing more responsibility and blame on women in such situations. Chanel Contos, the former student whose petition revealed thousands of teenage sexual assault claims earlier this month, called out the idea as a “bad Band-Aid” solution to Australia’s overarching sexual assault crisis.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Contos said: “Consent can be taken back at any time, and an app couldn’t account for that. It’s very reflective of how consent is seen; as a black and white thing. But consent isn’t a single sentence. It’s how people interact with each other as a whole.”
“I do appreciate the sentiment. But we’re at a pivotal moment - we’re about to create serious change - so we have to seriously consider how to do it.”