Don't Look Away: Investigating hi-tech ways of fighting gender-based violence

Don't Look Away: Investigating hi-tech ways of fighting gender-based violence
Cape Town - People, especially women, who find themselves in trouble may soon be able to get help with the use of new technology.

The US embassy, Silicon Cape, 15 civil society groups, academics and community members held a two-day event at the Waterfront with the aim of coming up with working prototypes to fight crime, particularly gender-based violence (GBV).

Organisers say the “Hackathon” is much needed given that South Africa has some of the worst-known figures for gender-based violence in the world. During the event, attendees will explore what can be done to make communities safer, investigate how best to respond to threats, and produce technology that can save lives.

The Crime Against Women in South Africa Report by Statistics SA shows that femicide (the murder of women on the basis of their gender) is five times higher than the global average. This means that in South Africa, women are five times more likely to be killed due to gender-based violence committed by men. In recent weeks, the murders of women, most notably Uyinene Mrwetyana and Jesse Hess, made headlines and resulted in various marches in and around the city.

Silicon Cape director, Dr Sumarie Roodt, said a woman was murdered every three hours in SA.

“We are seeing reports of 114 rapes daily and that’s only the ones that are reported. What about the ones that are not reported?” she said.

Cape Town hosted the first Hackathon this weekend with the next one to be held in Joburg.

Roodt said they hope that this meeting would result in the creation of working prototypes that would yield “tangible” help for all.

The new technology that will hopefully be produced will be integrated with existing methods to create holistic help for people in danger.

“We are not reinventing the wheel and we want to ensure everyone has access,” said Roodt.

Monday marks the start of the annual 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

Weekend Argus