Safecity

The Red Dot Foundation

India

Organization Type: Civil Society | Category:

Project Summary

Safecity, is a platform that encourages people to share their personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces.

The data on abuse and harassment is never consistent and every agency agrees that it is an under reported problem. As many as 80% of the victims choose not to report to the police due to various reasons. Therefore there is little or no official records of sexual harassment and technically if there are not enough reports or statistics, how can we go about understanding this problem and solving the same?

Safecity encourages women to break their silence and report either anonymously or with their identity. This data 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 solve the problem at the local level.
Individuals can check safety rating of areas just the way they check rating of movies, books and restaurants. They can then make choices which suit their needs the best.

Community groups can choose to use the data to bring about positive change in their neighbourhoods. When they approach law enforcement or municipalities with data and possible solutions, there is a stronger case to bring about change.

Law enforcement and municipalities can benefit from crowdsourced data and leverage common citizens to be eyes and ears for them. Keeping cities safe is a community responsibility and citizens need to play an active role.
Safecity has been in existence for the last 16 months in India and has over 2800 personal stories from over 50 cities.

To further achieve this vision, Safecity wishes to enable multiple channels of reporting and share this information for positive action. A web platform, mobile app, SMS and IVR based reporting for those not connected on the internet.

Safecity was the only international participant of the Fast Fwd Program organized by the City of Philadelphia. Safecity is also the Runner Up for the Facebook 2014 Social Innovation Award.

Safecity has been featured in various international media such as BBC World, Fast Company, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Al Jazeera to name a few.

Background

Sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces has been a problem for decades but most often nothing is spoken about it. This leads to a culture of quiet acceptance of this form of violence by the victim and society including by standers. This under communication leads to under reporting that in turn translates to little or no official records with the police. The perpetrator gets away scot free and becomes emboldened over a period of time to move on from sexual banter to more serious forms of assault like rape. The law in turn can do very little to prosecute or bring about justice.

We felt this vicious cycle needed to be broken. Using technology we provided a platform for women to break their silence and share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. We have over 2800 stories from over 50 cities in India. Some of them from over 20 years ago. Women can share these stories anonymously as our intent is to take away the focus from the individual and instead focus on the geographic comfort zone of the perpetrator.

Justification

This project nominated to the ISIF Asia award because…

Safecity is using innovation and technology to highlight a problem that has long existed, create awareness and encourage solutions at the local level.

Team

Objectives

Highlighting the issue of street harassment and abuse against women in public spaces.
Establishing a platform for women to share their personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces.
Collating this information to highlight local trends which in turn can be used to find local solutions.
Establishing models for use of crowdsourced information to solve public safety and civic issues.

Technical details and contribution to innovation

USHAHIDI open sourced platform
WordPress
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin

Activities

Workshops with young women and men in universities to make them aware of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces and encouraging them to take action and report their stories.
Local pilots to show how data can be used by ordinary citizens to bring about change.
Collection of crowdsourced stories to highlight local trends.
Pilots to show how law enforcement can use crowdsourced information to improve public safety.

Outcomes

Women need a platform to share their stories. This is evident from the ones we collected especially those that are over 20 years ago.
Women are comfortable sharing their stories anonymously though they may not want to take official action.
People want to offer help and make a change. Small acts of kindness are being witnessed.
Stories translate into data which in turn identify trends at the local level e.g. poor street lighting, existence of alcohol shop, poor infrastructure like lack of bus stops.

Publications and dissemination efforts

Posters for adults and children in English and Hindi
Justice Verma Commission submission indicating a potential solution like crowdsourced information

Awards and distinctions

Access Now Facebook Award 2014 for Social Innovation at the Rights Con Conference 1 of 10 organisations focussed on Public Safety selected for the City of Philadelphia's Fast FWD program Feb 2014 (part of the Bloomberg Mayor's Challenge) Finalists at the Manthan Award 2013 for Digital Empowerment in the Social Media category

Website

http://safecity.in

YouTube movie about the project

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM8Hln70jUqQpoDz9zPuTIg

profile or page from the organization or project leader

http://facebook.com/safecity.in

profile from the organization or project leader

http://twitter.com/pinthecreep

profile from the organization or project leader

N/A

Project Representative

ELSAMARIE DSILVA

Project Representative on

http://linkedin.com/elsadsilva

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