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Sex Harassment App Helps Women Map Abuse


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An interactive map showing the locations of abuse to women.

A new smartphone app can send a shrill rape alarm via an onscreen button, and also can forward help and location text messages to emergency contacts.

Credit: createhtml5map.com

A team at Cornell University has collaborated with researchers at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and North South University, both in Dhaka, on Protibadi, a smartphone app designed to combat sexual harassment.

Protibadi, which means "one who protests" in Bengali, can send a shrill rape alarm via an onscreen button. The app also will forward help and location text messages to emergency contacts. In addition, the app can collate incident data from all users to create a heat map showing areas where harassment is at its worst. Users will be able to annotate the data with a brief blog post about the type of harassment experienced.

Women who have signed up to try the app said they felt safer having it installed on their phone. "They loved the fact that they had one-touch emergency access to their friends any time they needed help," says Cornell's Ishtiaque Ahmed. "Most of the participants considered the map useful in choosing their routes around Dhaka city."

From New Scientist
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