Each year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is celebrated to enhance awareness and boost strategies to get rid of violence committed against women. Ending aggression is not a quick process, but by acting together, women my way!can defend themselves against atrocities and harm inflicted by other people.
One way to do this is to use technology to better protect the rights of women letting them take charge of their lives without bowing into submission or oppression by anyone.
Applications and Devices
It is not always possible for women to be accompanied by someone in day-to-day living whether it’s for a walk in the park at night or an early morning jog in the neighborhood. However, women fear being alone after the sun sets because of potential threats. In the UK, 50% of women do not feel safe walking alone in the dark according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
More and more women are arming themselves with devices and gadgets that could disable or stun attackers. For example, women start to carry personal safety devices such as mace or pepper spray that they could use during an attack or assault. Other personal devices include an alarm or safety key that could be activated to deter perpetrators. These devices can assist women in avoiding potentially harmful situations.
Another way is to use applications that could be installed in mobile phones or smartwatches. While many of existing apps are meant to deter attacks, most of them take time to activate. Ambushes usually happen very quickly, and women cannot react immediately. However, a smartwatch is being developed by researchers at the University of Bath that would automatically send distress signals through heart rate and body motion monitoring.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to recognize distress and respond to it if a user is attacked. The app in the smartwatch can alert others if a woman is resisting or fighting back. It will automatically activate the recording function to document what’s happening once a distress signal is detected. This could be used as valuable evidence in prosecutions that could improve convictions for offenses committed against women.
Safe Space Platforms and Chatbots
Unfortunately, not everything can be prevented. And, for those who are victims of an assault or violence, it is not easy to ask for help or report it. However, documentation is very important in prosecutions. It is also critical that women who are casualties can give an account of what happened to them. In this regard, discreet and safe platforms can offer women a place where they can disclose incidents and attempts of violence without revealing their identities.
The platforms can offer referrals where they can get psychosocial support and services. Chatbots can also recognize high-risk words and phrases keyed in by users that can trigger the appropriate response to help the victims.
Women are vulnerable to many things such as exploitation, assault, and violence. The good news is technology can assist in keeping them safe as well as empower them to take charge of their personal protection and security.