A recent WHO survey indicates that 35 percent of women, globally, experience some form of abuse or physical violence. While this in itself is shocking, this figure could shoot up even further if unreported cases get reported. As law enforcement agencies strive to improve policing, a silent battle, in parallel, is also being fought on the digital turf by mobile applications and wearable devices to ensure women safety.
Let us look at some examples on how technology plays a significant role to ensure women safety:
Appalled by the growing incidents of crime against women, a Dutch start-up designed a wearable bracelet that sends out alerts to friends, family, as well as the police, during a crisis. The device uses a low-energy Bluetooth connection to sync to an app on the wearer's smartphone. The app lets the wearer decide who she wants to notify in case of an emergency - friends, family members, the police, or a group of users who agree to field emergency calls from other wearers. The app also uses the smartphone’s microphone to record the incident and subsequently transmits the wearer’s location along with the audio recording of the incident to the police.
In another development, a group of students from North Carolina University in the US have invented a novel way of protecting women from sexual assault - a nail polish that detects the presence of drugs in a drink. The nail polish will empower any women to discreetly ensure her safety simply by stirring her drink with her finger. A change in colour of the nail polish indicates a spiked drink and this would help women to swiftly take preventive steps before a potential catastrophe.
A free SMS-based safety or safety apps services are becoming common as well. While technology has played a significant role to empower women, there is also a need for rigorous effort from the law enforcement agencies with better policing, fast track courts, and better citizen awareness initiatives that will encourage women to come forward and register complaints.
Can technology help prevent crimes against women in any other way? How else can technology be leveraged to collaboratively ensure women safety? Please leave your comments in the section below.