The Safecity app lets women share their stories of harassment and abuse in public spaces in cities. Elsa D’Silva, one of its founders, says that women can use it to report “what happened, where it happened and when it happened”.
D’Silva started to form the idea for Safecity during a visit to Sweden where, having recently begun working on women’s issues following 20 years in the aviation industry, she met the founders of HarassMap – a project that, among other things, uses online and mobile technology to work towards ending sexual harassment and assault in Egypt. Shortly after D’Silva returned home to Delhi, thenow infamous gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student on a Delhi bus took place.
That rape changed something for D’Silva, and for many other Indian people. She says: “That was when everything lined up and I said to myself: Safety and security need to be urgently addressed. Until then, not many of us were even talking about it actively or openly enough, including me. It was that rape that really got me thinking more actively … And then I started to remember the various incidents that had taken place in my own life.” Her personal silence broken, D’Silva began to talk to friends: “I realised that every one of them had a story to share, but until then we had never really spoken about it.”