11/16/2012 10:05 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

GWEN Network: Saving Lives With iTunes App

By Clarissa Burt with Barbara Fowlkes

I recently sat down with Tess Cacciatore, co-founder of the Global Women's Empowerment Network (GWEN), to discuss a collective storytelling depository and the launch of her groundbreaking iPhone app.

GWEN Network is quickly transforming lives beyond abuse. The video campaign, called "Tell Us Your Story," is "a cloud-based, editor-driven and easy-to-use application that allows women and girls to narrate their personal stories of abuse," Cacciatore explains.

A partnership with WeVideo is the centerpiece of GWEN, and where women of all ages, races and affiliations are able to share their experience with the common goal of empowering others.

The GWEN Network homepage is easily accessed using mobile and online platforms. Videos are uploaded via webcams and mobile devices then stored in a password-protected library. Participants control their privacy levels using video settings and are able to combine their personal narratives with photos, artwork and music. A collaborative network of artists, poets and musicians can then access the autobiographical recitations of peers for both creative and personal inspiration.

GWEN Network uses the latest web technology to offer inventive solutions, "bringing hope, motivation and tools to empower life beyond abuse."

What constitutes abuse? Cacciatore describes, "Abuse is cyclical, insidious and takes many forms. Common forms of abuse include verbal, physical and sexual; while it affects more than one-third of females in the United States."

In celebration of the iTunes app and their Award for Mobile Excellence, GWEN Network is hosting a contest to find the world's most compelling story lines. Participants can enter for a chance to have their stories narrated through film and broadcast on a global scale.

Although the GWEN Alert Mobile App was appropriately released at Digital Hollywood as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness month, Cacciatore admits that she began her work over twenty years ago when she made ending the silence surrounding abuse her primary goal.

"Mama Tess," as her children all over the world affectionately call her -- recognizes that she has "always been interested in global humanitarian efforts." For the past 13 years, Cacciatore has traveled the world delivering the unique combination of courage and compassion that continue to define her brand.

The GWEN Alert System is free and available in the iTunes App Store where users can pre-program a list of up to five contacts. The "GWEN Five" can be discretely alerted in the case of an emergency with the convenient push of a button.

The exciting new iPhone app is designed to send text alerts and uses a GPS tracker, lending emergency support to those still suffering from abuse. The GWEN Network goes beyond education and "puts control back into the hands of victims, providing real tools to those in abusive relationships that will save lives in addition to providing peace of mind."

Cacciatore and her team received the Award for Mobile Excellence in the category of Social Intelligence at Digital Hollywood in Los Angeles, California.

For more information please go to GWEN or visit the iTunes App Store.