Widespread protests have gripped India after recent violent gang rapes, but little has changed to quell the pervasive fear. Outraged at the constant stream of atrocities against women in the country, four citizens are taking to the Internet to provide a different sounding board for women’s safety.
SafeCity.in, launched by four young professionals after the brutal murder of a paramedic intern in Delhi last year, is aiming to provide Indian women and women travelers with an interactive map of unsafe places in India, BBC News reported on Wednesday. The website, founded by Surya Velamuri, Elsa D’silva, Saloni Malhotra and Aditya Kapoor, allows women to report sexual atrocities they face in a particular city. “We want to encourage women to report instances of abuse, and not hide their pain or discomfort,” says Velamuri. “What we are trying to do is influence mindsets one at a time. Report, Stand up, contribute, complain, fix, it’s a platform to talk about sexual abuse,” Malhotra adds.
In a country where a woman is sexually assaulted every three minutes, the website aims to encourage women to come forward and report incidents of sexual abuse, which are above and beyond the official estimates. The location tag allows the site — which features a tagline of “Pin the Creeps” — to map unsafe or threatening areas of a city, creating a database that will work as a handy reference for women while traveling. That way, “People can be aware of the places and reasons why certain areas are unsafe and can take precautions accordingly,” Velamuri told TIME.
Since last year, the website has recorded more than 962 reports of sexual abuse from all over the country, with more than 700 just from the capital, Delhi. “All law, media, police action is [geared] towards what happens after rape,” says Malhotra. “As a society we need more preventive strategies and build a movement to create a space [for women] which is free of abuse as much as possible.”