In recent times, India has made its rules against the crime of sexual harassment stern and stricter. Though the rules have been changed, the numbers of rape cases in the country refuse to decline.
Every other day, we hear or read about gruesome crimes against women, be it the 4-year-old girl raped in Aligarh after the accused lured her with Rs.10 note or the 26-year-old Telangana vet who was gang-raped and set ablaze by her rapists.
Bengaluru which counts as one of the safest cities for women in the country too has incidents of sexual harassment time and again. The horrifying memories of 2017 New Year’s Eve where women were groped and mass-molested on the streets of the city have still not faded.
In order to do her bit in educating women about their safety, an Art, Design and Technology student, Nupur Patny, has come with a brilliant initiative. She has come up with a map that pins down sexual harassment zones in Bengaluru based on the experiences of women around the city, reports IE.
Under the project titled, ‘It’s Not My Fault’, Nupur asked several women in the city to paste sticky notes on the specific are of city map noting down the incidents that have made them uncomfortable. It includes being inappropriately touched, groped, stared at and tickled or being a victim to inappropriate gestures or sexual advances in public transport or crowded places and photographed without permission.
The data thus collected will be converted into a digital platform which will help women to know the sexual harassment prone areas better.
“My map is a free space for women to share their experience of sexual harassment in specific locations that have taken place. Going very local as to understanding what harassment happened and what kind of changes are needed which can eventually help the police to take preventive measures to avoid such situations and make women feel safer wherever they are and whatever they are wearing,” Nupur told India Today.
Talking about what made her think of such an initiative, Nupur told IE, “Even though India is said to have a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of sexual harassment, our country lacks a zero-tolerance attitude towards letting such incidents take place.”
“The victims of such incidents often end up not reporting the same as they are confused about how and where to share their testimonial. An open platform for them to do so and to ensure that action is being taken to avoid the repeat is what ‘It’s Not My Fault’ is trying to do,” she added.
Explaining how the maps work, Nupur said, “The real-time data will be made accessible to law enforcement agencies to take action. Also, the data collected will help ensure others do not get into trouble at the same locations.”
Giving an example of one such sexual harassment prone area in the city, Nupur said that RWF West Colony, an area next to her college in Yelahanka New Town, is termed ‘Rapist Lane’ by students. “With no proper streetlights and buses parked close to each other, this lane is a hideout for anti-social elements, and is a prime example of many such areas in the city which are prone to sexual harassment incidents,” she shared.
Bengaluru police have also extended support to Nupur and her initiative. Police Commissioner told India Today, “This is a great initiative which she [Nupur] has taken up which we as police persons will not be able to do but it will be of tremendous value to us. So I called the young girl here and said you can do something beyond this. And she had her team of friends who are very much willing to come and help us to make a diagram of Bengaluru where women’s harassment takes place the most. Definitely, this input will be very useful for us to fix surveillance cameras for our Bengaluru safe city project.”
The maps will be soon made available for download as a smartphone application. Subscribers can share their own stories and experiences on the app and will be able to see the same while visiting a particular place close to the designated areas.
“With the map on display allowing users to view these areas in their vicinity using augmented reality, I tend to encourage women to interact with such spaces more to spread awareness on how to avoid such situations there rather than contributing to further panic,” Nupur explained.
It certainly sounds like a brilliant idea. We wish all the best to Nupur for her initiative and hope it turns out to be helpful for women in Bengaluru.