It seems that these days there’s an app for just about anything. With just the click of a button, women in New Delhi will soon be able to fend off potential attackers with their phones.
When feeling unsafe women can simply push a button on their phones that will send up to five people, including police, a text message with their GPS location. The app, called “Fight Back,” will also notify friends and family via Facebook and Twitter.
“Safety for women has become such a huge issue here and we felt that citizens of Delhi, where possibly the problem exists the most, could use this type of technological intervention,” said Hindol Sengupta, co-founder of Whypoll, which created the application.
“Fight Back” is India’s first women’s safety SOS mobile application created by Canvasm in association with Whypoll, India’s only open government platform. While the app is a great idea, the only thing that worries me is the Facebook and Twitter alert. Having such incidents reported so publicly seems problematic and would likely discourage women from reporting.
Whypoll has also created a website where women can report harassment on the streets of New Delhi, the first site of its kind in India. “Safe in the City” is meant to serve as a public database of the most unsafe places in New Delhi to both protect women and notify police of dangerous areas. Women can simply go online and submit a harassment report detailing where the incident occurred and what happened including things such as touching, catcalls, comments, stalking or following, indecent exposure, sexual invites, rape, or sexual assault. The site has helped identify New Delhi’s 100 most unsafe cities.
So often women are reluctant to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault for a whole host of reasons – the stigma, fear of retaliation or being blamed, etc. “Safe in the City” empowers women to report crimes anonymously without these concerns. At the same time, the site can serve as an effective tool in preventing future crimes.
The site can also help raise awareness of the great amount of violence against women in New Delhi so that the government can implement policies and programs to protect women in the most vulnerable areas. Known as the “rape capital” of the nation with one rape every 18 hours, the women of New Delhi are in need of as much intervention on their behalf as possible to keep them safe.
Wouldn’t it be great if every woman had access to the “Fight Back” app and a “Safe in the City” reporting site for their city? It would certainly make me feel safer.
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Photo credit: Photo by renatomitra used under a Creative Commons license