Violence against women has become a grave cause of concern all around the world. From domestic violence to eve-teasing, women have been subjected to a lot of negative actions which has put their safety and peace of mind in jeopardy.
In the era of digitalization, technology is often employed to solve problems in every arena, including the prevention of violence against women. Information Communication Technology (ICT) has been both, a bane and boon to women’s safety. With the advent of social media, the cases of cyber harassment against women have increased and their privacy is often compromised. However, it is the ICT that also offers new and innovative ways to battle violence against women and to provide women and girls with more protection, security and independence.
Smartphones are no more a luxury. It is owned by almost everyone around the world. This has made the use of apps for fighting violence against women very desirable. Let us look at some of the apps that are working towards improving safety for women.
The Circle of 6 App
The Circle of 6 app allows users to program six friends into a “circle”. It has pre-programmed SMS messages, such as “call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption” or “come and get me, I need help getting home safely” that can be easily sent to the programmed circle. The user’s location is also sent to the circle along with these messages. The app also has hotline numbers for sexual assault, rape and abuse preinstalled in it. Every action can be completed with a minimal number of taps, making it easier to use in an uncomfortable or threatening situation. The app is also available in Hindi.
The Safecity app maps the sexual violence incidents in public spaces in the country. The digital mapping is done on the basis of anonymous reports to the app by victims. This can help the authorities to look into the matter and improve the safety in the area marked as unsafe by victims.
iFollow app asks you to fill in a basic data including three emergency contact numbers. After this, the app works silently on the phone as a background app. In case of emergency, a user has to shake the smartphone thrice in five seconds to activate the app. The app will directly place a call to the first emergency contact number from the list. If the call goes unanswered, will call the second and then the third. If all the calls go unanswered, the app will immediately send a text message to all the three contacts and share the location of the user.
This app constantly tracks the location of the user and alerts them if they walk in an unsafe area. Once the user is alerted, they can choose to invite their friends and family to track their location. The app also provides the safest route out of that area along with alternate routes. It also gives a safety score of different localities, aiding in picking the best route to travel.
This app is recommended by the Delhi Police. For this, one has to register themselves at the Delhi Police website and complete the application configuration. In an emergency situation, the user can raise SOS alert from the app which will then send the location and audio-video access of the user to Delhi Police Control Room. They will then send the nearest police to help immediately.
This app is supported by the Police Department of several cities including Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Jammu, Mohali and the Fire Services in Lucknow and Noida. The idea is to turn the old cities into Smart Cities by providing them easy access to security. A user has to just hit the panic button and request for either the police, hospital or fire service. It also has the option to send an SOS to emergency contacts. Additionally, it has the Fake Call feature which helps a user to get out of a sticky situation.
This app lets the user create their own personal safety network of family, friends and co-workers. The user can share their location with people so that they can be traced when feeling unsafe. It also has a Follow Me feature that works on GPS and helps people keep track of the user constantly. There’s also a Timer Mode that triggers an alarm automatically if the user has not checked in at their destination at that time. Another feature called as I’m Here, tells the location of the user to chosen few people. This app also has a Fake Call feature. The Guardian Alert button on the app immediately notifies the emergency contacts that help is needed and will send the user’s location and a video.
This article is part of our series on the international 16 Days of Activism campaign with the theme “Orange the World”.