India has been frequently waking up to incidents of atrocities against women making the headlines. The latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) validated the statement when it highlighted that the country reported as many as 88 rape cases every day in 2019.
During such incidents, it has been observed that the victims often fail to get adequate and timely aid. To tackle the issue head-on, Pink Belt Mission, an Agra-based non-governmental organisation, has been working on a device, designed in the form of a wrist band, to help in alerting the relevant authorities and prevent the occurrence of the crime.
Set up in 2016, the Pink Belt Mission has been providing martial arts training to lakhs of women across a number of states in a bid to empower and strengthen them as well as to make them self-sufficient.
The organisation's founder, Aparna Rajawat, caught up with The Logical Indian and shared the reasons behind developing a mechanism that aims to build a safe and responsible environment for women in the country.
TLI: How did you and your team come up with the idea to develop an alert device for women?
Aparna: Through a number of reports we learned that every 13 minutes a girl is reportedly raped in our country and over a thousand acid attacks take place per year. It is extremely disheartening to see the cases of crime against women increasing every single day. We have witnessed so many deaths due to rape cases. We have seen so many acid attack survivors lose vision and live with stigma their entire lives.
Every time Pink Belt Mission comes across such incidents, one of the most alarming problems is a delay in assistance that could either prevent the crime or provide medical aid swiftly.
These incidents were the core thought to work on a device that is easily accessible in unprecedented times and importantly bridges the gap between an incident taking place and a delayed aid response
TLI: What prompted you to pick an alert band?
Aparna: I have visited villages where I have seen girls as young as six years victimised by their own family members. My team has been working since 2016 and we have come across numerous such stories wherein women who have been assaulted and raped were not even aware of government guidelines that have been put in place to help the victims.
Pink Belt Mission is an all-round safety project for women where my team and I aim to empower women in five verticals that is – legal strength, digital strength, emotional strength, physical strength and mental strength.
For this, we have worked for over six months, ideating and researching on end to end solution to cover all the verticals and we aim to turn it into reality with the government's assistance.
TLI: What is 'Pink Belt' concept and at what stage is the device in, currently?
Aparna: A concept of a device designed in the form of a band to be worn around the wrist by a woman serving as her protector. The concept of the product has been designed to have a button, which upon being pressed triggers an alert through an inbuilt SIM card.
The alert from the product is shared with the nearest police station, who can then dispatch personnel to the victims' location and initiate the right steps. The safety device will be embedded within the coating of a silicone casing for durability & other functional requirements linked to your GPS location without the need of any internet accessibility.
It will also have inbuilt sensors which will get activated upon extreme force, so if an attacker tries to pull or break the device an automatic alert shall be triggered with the victims' exact location.
The device is in the ideation stage and we are confident that with the support of the people and government this idea will translate into reality and enable us to bridge the gap of delayed assistance.
To push for the concept on paper, I would urge people to sign the petition that can further become a nation awakening movement.
TLI: Systemic changes take a long while to reflect, do you think you will be able to cause tangible changes through your endeavours?
Aparna: Talking about or reporting rape is a taboo in the rural parts of India, victims lose half the battle due to lack of immediate medical aid. By introducing this concept to the authorities, we aim to at least bridge the gap between the incident and the necessary support required which is mandated by law but is not provided to a lot of women in their time of need.
This is one small step towards a safer country for women, wherein we encourage every woman to say 'I want my pink belt' from the authorities and make this movement as real as our intentions. With immense support from the people, we have crossed over 10,000 signatures and helped us recognise 'The Pink Belt' as the need of the hour.
TLI: What do you think are the three biggest challenges faced by women in India and how can one overcome them?
Aparna: The challenge faced by every woman is the difference in upbringing. In the majority of the households, girls and boys are brought up differently and have a different set of rules. This is the first challenge women face. Only when mothers stop this discrimination from the very beginning, will we be able to overcome this roadblock.
Another big problem is women not allowed to take their own decisions. Right from fathers, brothers, husbands and even sons are given the authority to take decisions but when it comes to the women of the house, they are unheard of. Again this change had to be inculcated by the elders of the house. They should involve the women in decision making and help them learn from their own mistakes.
Lastly, a challenge that should be seldom bothered is to be judged by their dressing. The society doesn't allow a woman's work define her success but judges her by the clothes she wears. Women in India should now let all these comments and criticism fall on a deaf ear and embrace their style with confidence that will allow them achieve what they want.