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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Mumbai: Online maps to demarcate unsafe areas

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 27, 2013
First Published: 08:50 IST(27/9/2013) | Last Updated: 08:54 IST(27/9/2013)

Women in the city now have a new tool to help stay safe from sexual harassment — a map that can help them identify unsafe areas in Mumbai.

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On Thursday, Akshara , a non- profit organisation that works for women’s rights, launched ‘HarassMap Mumbai’, an online initiative that will serve as a platform for women to report incidents of harassment.

A collective of such complaints will help highlight areas in the city that are unsafe for women.

Actor and social activist Rahul Bose, who launched the map, said the initiative could become a mirror to the city.

“The map is not intended to tell women that they cannot visit areas termed unsafe, but to work towards making unsafe areas safer,” he said.

While there are several mobile applications and other technological aids for women’s safety, the map is touted to be the first in the city to help women identify areas deemed unsafe, through reported experiences of other women.

“Women, who refused to report harassment because of fear, can now help show the true picture of how the city treats them. The idea is to encourage them to share their experiences for each other’s benefit,” said Nandita Gandhi, co-director, Akshara.

Gandhi said that Akshara had also sought help from the police to act on the information reported on the map.

A user can file a detailed report about the exact location of harassment and why the area was unsafe. These areas will be colour-coded on the map.

The platform will also provide statistics on how many cases of harassment were reported in that area.

However, cyber crime expert Vijay Mukhi, who was also present at the l aunch, highlighted the limitations of the tool.

“Unless t here are strong filters on the map, it can get misused through bogus complaints. Careful analyses of user reports would be required to avoid misuse,” Mukhi said.


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