Meet The Visually Impaired Engineer Who Designed A Bot To Help Women To Report Harassment

Sudhanva Shetty Delhi

May 16th, 2017 / 6:57 PM

Alarmed by the Nirbhaya rape, an app and website named SafeCity was launched in 2012 to make India safer for women.

Elsa D’Silva, Founder and CEO of SafeCity, said that women can use it to report “what happened, where it happened and when it happened”. She was inspired by HarassMap – a project that, among other things, uses online and mobile technology to work towards ending sexual harassment and assault in Egypt (more here).

Since then, SafeCity has encouraged women to come forward with their stories of harassment and share their experiences. In India, the share of reported rapes and acts of sexual violence is abysmally low compared to the actual incidences of occurrence. This is because of a conservative society that tends to blame the victim, lack of police sensitisation, lack of awareness etc. In such a situation, a venture like SafeCity, which gives women a platform to vent their frustration and warn their counterparts while choosing to remain anonymous, is highly welcoming.

Based on the reports, the site also generates a crowd map of sexual harassment incidences. The crowd submits reports of harassment incidents, and a map is generated based on the frequency of reports from the concerned areas and cities. This map can be used by the general public and by authorities for various purposes.


Recently, SafeCity added a new component to encourage more women to report harassment – a Messenger bot. The bot is one way of receiving complaints and adding more detail to the crowd map.

The Logical Indian spoke with Sagar Sodah, the Mumbai programmer who designed the bot. Sagar is 26 years old and his 10% vision has never deterred him from striving to contribute to society.

“Basically,” he said, “I’m a software engineer and I’ve been developing apps for the last three-and-a-half years. Over time, I realised that when I combine my programming skills with social impact causes, it creates something beautiful.”

It was Sagar who pitched the idea of a chatbot to help women report harassment cases. Elsa was very happy with it and green-lighted it immediately. “I figured the SafeCity model could be evolved to accommodate a bot. After all, everybody is on Facebook and Messenger these days. It took two months of hard work, but by February it was good to go.”

To use the bot to report a case, the user should search for the bot on Messenger. The bot’s name is Safecitybot and it can be found here.


The Safecity bot.

Once you access the bot, it works like a usual chatbox. It asks you a few questions about your experience, or you can access the SafeCity crowd map for your location.


The Safecity bot asks you for a few details about your experience.

As for SafeCity itself, you can report a harassment case on the site by simply filling up the form on the website.


People can report an incident of sexual harassment on the Safecity site.

The Safecity report.

The Safecity crowd map for India.

You can report a case of harassment to SafeCity by any of these means:

  1. By sending an email: [email protected]
  2. By sending a tweet with the hashtag/s: #SafecityIndia
  3. By filling this form on the website.
  4. By texting the Safecity bot, which can be found here.

Contributors

Written by :

Edited by :

Related Stories

A Fake Twitter Trend Designed To Discredit Farmers’ March In Mumbai Busted

Poorly Designed Check Dams Leave Birbhum Farmers High And Dry

blind

New Notes Pose Serious Challenges To Visually Impaired, This Petition Demands To Make It Accessible

NASA Launches World’s Smallest Satellite Designed By 18-Yr-Old From Tamil Nadu

This 29-Yr-Old Visually Impaired Man Is Trying To Make Technology Accessible To The Differently-Abled

Goggles Blind

Arunachal Pradesh: A Class 11 Student Develops A Goggle To Help The Visually Impaired

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

Uttarakhand BJP MLA Who Danced Brandishing Guns In Viral Video, Expelled From Party For 6 Years

News

TN: Man Arrested For Posting Message On His Facebook Account About A ‘Beef Eating Festival’

News

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Plea On Women’s Full Right To Abort Pregnancy At Any Stage

News

Gujarat: Thakor Community Bans Inter-Caste Marriages In 12 Villages, Prohibits Unmarried Girls From Using Mobiles

News

Govt Sold Driving License Data To 87 Private Companies For Rs 65 Crore

News

Tiranga TV Goes Off Air, Owners Accused Of Non-Payment Of Salaries; All You Need To Know About It

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.