It’s just a sad fact of life that rape happens all over the world. Even with the campaigns against sexual assault and the constant reminders of obtaining sexual consent, the rate of crimes involving rape are still far from lessening — mostly felt in developing countries. It’s especially appalling and alarming to know that, in India, a woman is raped every 22 minutes. This statistic only includes documented cases, with most cases going unreported.
Safetipin — which was created by Kalpana Viswanath and Ashish Basu, an engineer and an entrepreneur respectively — is an app that has a database that provides the safest routes for any given city.
According to their website, “Safetipin empowers people through crowdsourcing to get involved, and stand up to say ‘no more.’”
Viswanath, who is an advocate of women’s rights, partnered with Basu, who specializes in mobile technology. With the help of the charity Jagori, the two started with a concept and turned it into one of the most popular apps in Delhi, India, and now, internationally.
So how does Safetipin work?
Users are located either via GPS or by manually entering an address. They can then scan local areas, considering safety audits such as the street, lighting, openness, visibility, security, and gender diversity. The app then pulls out overall safety reviews of the street, with scores from 1 to 5 — 5 being the safest.
There are a number of anti-rape and safety devices aside from Safetipin that have been campaigned and used, but this particular app is unique because of its crowdsourcing structure. With this, women can give direct thoughts and experiences on a certain route if they have a good or bad “feeling” about it. This allows for women in India to come together and help each other.
The app is made to track not only your safety but also that of your friends, so you can see if they made it home or not. If not, their location is marked. An emergency button is also available, which will display the safest route to the closest establishment. The app has the potential to save and transform lives, being used all over the world. This just shows that not all women feel safe in public places.
Safetipin is part of the UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative, which explains:
“Women and girls experience and fear various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from sexual harassment to sexual assault, including rape and femicide. It happens on streets, public transport and parks, in and around schools. This reality reduces women’s and girls’ freedom of movement. It reduces their ability to participate in school, work and in public life.”
With this innovation, women around the world can have a time to breathe and feel safe against any assault or harassment. Let us remember, though, that what keeps us safe shouldn’t be an app, but rather people’s discipline and responsibility of not putting anyone at risk.