Any form of sexual harassment should be stopped and punish and the advancement of tools to track such crime is fantastic. HarassMap is a very good idea to stop instances of violence and harassment of women in certain areas. While the campaign begins in Egypt, the concept can very well be adopted into the United States because the issue of sexual harassment is pretty bad too. The ability to use a tool like this could spark a social movement to spread awareness of not only the issue itself, but the availability of such an instrument to help track the crime. The idea of crowdsourcing witnesses is brilliant as the communities will grow bigger into stopping harassment under any circumstances. The prime goal is stopping sexual assaulters from running away and committing further damage to our communities. I also believe the idea of working collectively as a community promotes the sense of identity as a whole group of people. The potential of HarassMap is that it would bring more attention to this horrible issue and it will also give others the accessibility to work against it. It’s funny because most people understand the severity of this problem in our society yet, we don’t even know how many people are trying to take a stance against it. When Brock Turner got caught for raping an unconscious woman on his school campus, I wondered if he would’ve gotten a more justified punishment if HarassMap were to be around during his trial. Especially since only three months in jail is way too little of a punishment for such a major misdemeanor. I hope this project becomes bigger than ever so harassment and violence can be reduced to an all time low.
The movement and the success of the tracking of harassment of women is an amazing tool. The statistics on harassment were overwhelming. It brought to mind the way in which bystanders do not engage to stop public behaviors that are unacceptable. The 75 percent of individuals noted as not coming to the aid of those women being harassed is very startling. It reminded me of the case in which a woman cried for help in New York City during a rape and although, many heard her cries for help not one person intervened, called the police or reached out to help the victim. The use of the app to call out those that engage in such deplorable behavior is an effective tool in the fight against harassment of women. The ability of the app to track previous incidents and locations of incidents will hopefully detour those from further deplorable behavior. The problem with any type of movement is apathy. The cost to women and society as a whole with this type of behavior is also noteworthy. What message as a society do we send to our future youth if we allow these behaviors to go unchecked. We are condoning it if we do nothing to stop it. The movement and its ability to achieve funding through human rights organizations points to the need to stop treating women as property and objects. If this were a global program would it help to detour the sickness of human trafficking of women? It would appear that if women were able to share their stories it might work as prevention. I watched a program created by a serial rapist from prison that gave women insight as to how avoid situations in which they are more vulnerable to rape, sexual harassment and attacks. I shared this information with my two daughters and it has been very helpful. The key is information and the movement is centered on this approach, which is a very effective tool. The places, people and situations to avoid are central to the success of any determent of unwanted behaviors towards women. More importantly, making the perpetrators of sexual harassment aware that they are being watched and that there are consequences to their inappropriate activities is key to achieving positive change in the area of women’s rights. Society as a whole to call out this behavior on the streets, in the workplace and in the media…#Harassmap.
It’s basically impossible to ignore the obvious major drawback of crowdsourcing: the unreliability of the data it gathers. Taking HarassMap as an example, it’s not a far stretch to image fake or otherwise untrustworthy incidents being reported. This is not to say that in Egypt (and worldwide really) sexual harassment doesn’t exist, because it very much does, this is only to point out that the idea of crowdsourcing incidents like this is not completely reliable. What I personally love about this project isn’t the data at all, but rather the fact that it’s managed to do the impossible. HarassMap, against all odds, has managed to inject sexual harassment and the maltreatment of women in Egypt to the forefront of social discussion. This in itself is monumental. I was shocked and angry and completely dumbfounded when I read that victims often didn’t even report their abuses because cops, the very institutions that we would think of to go to in times of crises not only didn’t defend their rights and privacy, but they were the ones abusing them as well. I became terrified thinking about the prospect of living in a society where the rights of women are so far removed from social norm that even the law enforcement was harassing half the population with abandon. When you fall that low in terms of your place alongside other genders in society it becomes nearly impossible to reclaim yourself. When you matter so little that 99% of you can be sexually harassed and still nothing is done about that horrible injustice, it’s terrifying. Personally I would’ve given up faced with those odds. And that’s why I love HarassMap so much. That’s why I love so much what they were able to accomplish. Using their greatest strengths, their numbers, their connectedness via cellphones, victims and their supporters alike are able to shed a light on this very real issue. When they were turned away by the institutions that are supposed to protect them, they found the strength and the will in each other to address the issue. There’s just something so powerful and inspiring and respectable about how these women have fought back against their oppression that I admire completely.
The work HarrasMap is doing to reverse the widespread of sexual harassment and the passivity of those who witness it. Societal issues like this need collective support and resolution that nowadays always comes via social media campaigns backed by organizations like this one. Moreover, this campaign clearly states it is more than just a way to allow victims to share their experiences and avoid certain areas but to highlight these areas for citizens and law enforcement to administer social and legal consequences if you choose to harass someone. These campaigns can influence so much through technologies. The reading stated that 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices could be found in developing countries. People are constantly on their phone looking for new information and apps.
While these campaigns give us the tools to try and address these issues it ultimately comes down to the thousands of users that contribute and maintain it. It’ll always be an issue of accuracy with these open-source, anonymous contributions because it is too difficult to verify everything that gets reported. These tools although helpful must be taken with a grain of salt. However, while the probability of these tools having more skewed data is higher, the issue is still probably widespread enough that something needs to be done about it. The fact that there are people undermining this does not mean it should not be validated. If anything, if people are so willing to skew data with false reports it just means we need to do more about this issue.
I do think technology will keep improving and help find solutions as time goes on. It also seems like many new technologies are focused on trying to help those in need more than ever. Like that is what is on the forefront of many platforms, features that will help expose injustices and doing so anonymously through the internet.
HarassMap is a genius idea. The mission HarassMap has in denormalizing instances of violence against girls in Egypt, and its method for crowdsourcing witnesses and bystanders to react against these acts will allow for safer public spaces in Egypt. I think the United States has issues with sexual harassment as well, and HarassMap would create a larger social movement around the issue. In general the problem with harassment tends to be the lack of encouragement to stand for the people being harassed. There is a certain social stigma against people defending on another, it becomes a sort of a spectacle and I think people try to avoid that. That is why with the idea of HarassMap, with the goal to promote the fact that the harassers are responsible not the victims is an exceptional idea. With other resources as well, HarassMap offers information about classes to intervene when sexual harassment occurs, self defense classes, and reports to help construct a greater cultural movement towards demoralizing the ideologies the perpetrate harassment.
The importance of collective movements such as HarassMap really demonstrate how the coalition of community members can benefit individuals. It is easy to see movements such as this one achieve national, and hopefully international level of application. Chelsea Young’s article expands on the benefits of HarassMap by ultimately stating, “Crowdsourcing is the process by which the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of a specialized few.”