While sexual assault and harassment is a problem almost everywhere, women in developing countries can face more danger. In India, for example, a rape occurs every 20 minutes, and incidents have climbed more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.
When women submit their abuse reports to Safecity, the data helps authorities become more aware and monitor location-based incidents. The gathered information can help police, transport departments, and other government officials identify and increase patrols in dangerous areas.
"This data, which may be anonymous, gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a local level. The idea is to make this data useful for individuals, local communities and local administration to identify factors that cause behavior that leads to violence and work on strategies for solutions," the website said.
The fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi in 2012 prompted the creation of Safecity. Since the program's launch, it has collected more than 10,000 stories from cities like India, Kenya, Cameroon, and Nepal.
"Our main target audience [is] women [and] girls who are victims of sexual harassment due to a patriarchal culture," the website said. "We are creating a new data set which currently does not exist."
Safecity doesn't focus on individual cases but reports success from app use. After frequent reports of "chain-snatching" in Bandra, Mumbai, police improved street lighting and changed patrolling times.
Similarly in Lal Kuan, Delhi, multiple women reported sexual assaults when they used a nearby jungle for a bathroom since the facilities available were locked. With the collected evidence, Safecity got the bathrooms unlocked and better maintained.
Safecity only acts as a platform to report abuse and subsequently collect data. The company encourages users to contact the proper authorities to file reports.
While the burden of staying safe should never be on a potential victim's shoulders, technology is helping to bring about change on local and national levels.
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- The Safecity app crowd-sources information from victims and authorities use the data to increase their presence and affect change for victims.
- Since the program's launch, Safecity has collected more than 10,000 stories from cities like India, Kenya, Cameroon, and Nepal and made safety changes in Mumbai and Delhi.
- Me2Bot fights sexual harassment with AI in the office
- Reporting sexual misconduct could get easier with new apps JDoe and Callisto
- HearMe Panic Button app aids victims of crime and domestic abuse in South Africa
- Apps to Stop Panic and Anxiety
- Uber's data report on sexual assaults to be released in 2019 (CNET)
- Google ends forced arbitration for sexual misconduct cases (ZDNet)
- How one wearable for women is bringing self defense tools into the modern age (TechRepublic)