According to the National Crime Records Bureau, of the 3,38,954 crimes against women in 2016, 820 cases were reported from Bengaluru under the category of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty. NCRB also revealed that majority of the cases were reported under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (29.2%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (25%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (22.2%) and ‘Rape’ (11.8%).
Violence against women is a major public health problem in the country, but is sadly underreported because of social stigma attached to it. Also, effective implementation of various laws that can save women against perpetrators and bring them to justice is thwarted by lack of awareness, either by women or the people who want to help them. To clear this ignorance, Enfold Proactive Health Trust has developed the content for Stri Suraksha app, which will be launched countrywide on March 8.
“The app has been conceptualised by Enfold Trust and the main reason behind it is to inform women about laws that will help them out. There are many laws, but awareness is low. The app will come in handy for those who want to help women in distress,” says Ashika Shetty, head program development and communication. The work on developing the content started in 2016, she says.
The app clearly lays out the laws and other support systems in the country. “It is not an SOS message app, but more along the lines of prevention or pre-emption. It empowers the users with the knowledge on legal and other aspects. It also helps in the process of healing, be it emotional, physical or mental as the app has a lot of content on how to deal with such issues," she explains.
The app has been developed by CDAC and financed by UNICEF. It is already available in ten regional languages and later, more languages will be added. It can be downloaded for free from Google Appstore. It helps the user identify and report different forms of violence against women at home, public place, workplace or cyberspace. Issues of conflict, interference, community-based justice, reestablishment and information about relevant laws and subclasses have been explained without complicated terms.
“We were working on apps for children and that was when we realised that there is a need to develop a security app for women as well, because the effect of violence is the same. It can be a saviour as it provides the right knowledge of one's rights," says Ashika.
A team of ten people were involved in developing the content. “The app explains simple things. For example, not many women know that even in medico-legal cases, a woman's consent for examination is required. Also, if a woman needs to file a complaint, she doesn't need to go to the police station and she can always ask a woman cop to come home. Also, she cannot be detained for questioning after 6 pm. Simple laws, but not many know them," stresses Ashika.
“Perpetrators continue to attack women because they are emboldened by the belief that they would not get caught and that women were too embarrassed to report such issues. But the knowledge of laws and rights will prepare and empower women," she says. The app is being launched in the city on March 10.