Amid growing concerns about rape and molestation, here comes a mobile-based solution. Twitter has joined hands with Safecity, a Mumbai-based non-profit, to provide a live platform where personal stories can be shared about public harassment, anonymously.
(L -R) Safecity’s co-founder Elsa D'Silva and head of media partnership at Twitter for South East Asia, Pratiksha Rao. Pic/Shailesh Bhatia
The campaign, which commenced on October 27, will initially aid women in New Delhi, Mumbai and Goa, with support from the police department in these cities, gradually spreading to the rest of the country. Sunday mid-day met up with the campaign’s founders, who are focused on changing misconceptions pertaining to women’s safety, using the data to come up with real-world solutions.
Elsa D’Silva, managing director and co-founder of Safecity, said, “In the last three years of working in this area, the biggest challenge we have faced is that a majority of sexual harassment cases go unreported. Joining hands with a live, public and mobile platform like Twitter — which with 316 million monthly active users is an apt platform for real-time public conversations — will encourage more women to share their experiences about public harassment and inspire others to take similar action."
Users can tweet to @SafecityIndia or use the #SafecityIndia hashtag. This has the added feature to protect their privacy, which is not present in a public tweet. Users get an automated response from the Safecity team, confirming that they have received their grievance.
Useful information such as helpline numbers will also be available. Crowd-sourced maps, a customised dashboard to filter and organise the received data, story trends and hotspots on an online map, with an agenda to ‘Pin the Creeps’, will serve as a safety guide for citizens and local authorities.
Pratiksha Rao, head of media partnership South-East Asia at Twitter, said, “This will enable more effective measures by local authorities to protect women. This will also encourage more women to come forward, share their experiences and report physical or mental trauma at the hands of stalkers or other anti-social elements. They will be assured that their voice is heard and appropriate action is taken.”