Concerned about women safety? Here's how you can warn ladies about harassers in your city by 'pinning the creep'

Thus far, Safecity’s #PintheCreep is the largest crowd map with over 25,000 personal stories. The data has been used for advocacy in several countries impacting over a million people.
Screenshot of the map on the Safecity platform
Screenshot of the map on the Safecity platform

The next time you feel sexually harassed in a public space, pin the creep. Literally. With a map on Safecity, a digital platform that collects and analyses crowdsourced, anonymous reports of violent crime, identifying patterns and key insights of sexual violence.

Elsa Marie D’Silva, the founder of Red Dot Foundation, is popular for helping women ‘pin the creep’ on the map. Why? So you can let another woman know that the second railway station gate near Safardarjung Enclave in Delhi has a bunch of creeps who will sexually harass women after 8 pm. Or that the second left near MG Road towards Brigade Road in Bengaluru is a hotspot for such sexual violence.

The website provides maps for every year in the country and you can understand how safe or unsafe your area is and what to do. In April 2021, the website did a #Dhakaldo campaign to get bystander intervention to prevent harassment on the streets. This was part of their Anti-Street Harassment week activities. But how does visually representing one’s personal experiences on a map help? “It helps to view the problem from a different perspective.

Elsa Marie D’Silva
Elsa Marie D’Silva

Often the survivor is blamed when she speaks up. When you can show a dataset that highlights a recurring trend, it forces you to demand accountability. That’s what we are trying to do with Safecity—make the invisible visible by bridging the data gap that exists with sexual and gender-based violence. It is a global issue impacting on an average one in three women, yet 80 percent or more never speak up. So the statistics are highly under-reported,” says D’Silva.

She started Safecity with a couple of friends as an immediate response to the Nirbhaya incident in Delhi in December 2012. The incident was shocking and triggering. “I remembered the various incidents that I had faced over the years that amounted to sexual harassment—groping on a train, witnessing masturbation on a bus, sexual harassment at the workplace. But until then I had never really spoken up. The incident made me reflect on the systemic change that was needed. Lack of data was making the issue invisible. Therefore we launched the crowdmap for anonymous reporting of such violence,” says the recipient of the Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices in the presence of Hillary Clinton.

Thus far, Safecity’s #PintheCreep is the largest crowd map with over 25,000 personal stories. The data has been used for advocacy in several countries impacting over a million people. D’Silva says it has helped to mainstream the conversation and it provides the information in which to hold a dialogue using evidence-based data. “The data collected is available open-source for individuals and communities to make their neighbourhoods safer. With information of what kind of incidents happen regularly, you can have better strategies to address the situation. You can also invite your community to help find solutions and work with police or civic officials for better safety. We have had police change beat patrol timings and increase vigilance, elected representatives make budgets available for CCTV cameras and college campus officials strengthen responses to sexual violence prevention.”

With lockdowns and curfews across cities, it may look like the creep factor has gone down, but digital violence is an extension of the violence in the physical world. “To address this, during the pandemic we hosted workshops on the prevention of online harassment. With Bumble we developed a Stand for Safety guide so that more people can understand the nature of the violence and take measures to prevent it,” says the activist listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women and the winner of Niti Aayog’s

#WomenTransformingIndia award.

● Members of all genders who violate privacy and crosses boundaries

● There have been 25,000 creep reports so far. Users can report/pin the violator via Safecity on Android and iOS phones or via a missed call on 9015 510 510

● Information is analysed to engage communities to find solutions and hold civic and police officials accountable. The information remains anonymous.

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The New Indian Express