Safecity helps identify unsafe spaces for women in a city through crowd-mapping

Safecity was started by Red Dot Foundation in the aftermath of the horrific gang rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in December 2012.

“It got me thinking about my own experiences which I had not shared and when I discussed it with my friends I realised everyone had a story to share but until then we had never spoken about it even amongst ourselves,” says Elsa Marie.

Safecity was lauched to allow anonymous reporting of personal experiences of sexual violence in public spaces. The data is then collated as location based trends and visualised on a map as hotspots. The aim of the project is to make public spaces safer and equally accessible to all, especially women and children so that they can access opportunities to achieve their potential.

The challenge was to make women aware of the legislation of the country regarding sexual harassment. To overcome this challenge, Safecity had to create campaigns to raise awareness and conduct workshops for different groups of people. The next challenge was to involve men to actively take a stand and put an end to this kind of abuse and harassment in order to make women and girls speak up against the perpetrators.

Various techniques are employed by professionals to help women break their silence, viz, using data to look at trends rather than individual experiences, and to initiate conversations, support group sessions, where listening to others gives them courage; art and theatre to help them think through their experiences and design solutions.

“The social media for empowerment awards is a huge honour for us. We are humbled because it recognises the hard work done by the team both online and on the ground. We will use this opportunity to draw attention to the issue and our innovative work to address it,” Marie said.

She added: “India is a country where you would still need to complement online presence with on the ground efforts. Everything takes time so one needs to be patient. We have been extremely encouraged by the support we have received from men and boys who comprise many of our volunteers.”