Updated: Apr 6
By: ELLA RUDER / STAFF REPORTER
COVID-19 caused millions of hospitalizations, tragedies and deaths around the world, raising a plethora of physical and mental health-related problems with one of the most prevalent being domestic violence.
Domestic violence during the pandemic increased due to a lot of factors such as substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which caused many homes with abusive behaviors to become cages.
According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the world saw an increase of domestic violence by 25 to 33 percent during the first year of the pandemic.
Data that refers to domestic abuse is essential to helping prevent it. But many who suffer with it struggle to find alternative ways to report incidents to the authorities without going directly to police. This is why organizations such as Safecity, where an anonymous report of domestic violence can be completed, is so essential to the safety of people everywhere.
Safecity: The App That Can Save Lives
“Safecity is a platform that empowers individuals, communities, police and city governments to create safer public and private spaces. Our technology collects and analyses crowdsourced, anonymous reports of sexual violence, identifying patterns and key insights,” says Camila Gomide, a current student at LIU and program coordinator for Safecity.
ElsaMarie D’Silva, the creator of Safecity, witnessed gender-based violence in her community of Mumbai, India, when a gang-rape occurred near her house. This incident was the catalyst for creating safer private and public places for individuals while also giving survivors an opportunity to speak up by empowering them to tell their stories.
The app and website frequently reports sexual harassment and assault anonymously in order to gain statistics from communities around the world. These reports are tangible evidence of assault in a given area which is pinned on a map located on their website.
This organization is a response to the continuous lack of data in terms of gender-based violence, which has been a challenge for local governments who are attempting to prevent similar situations for happening in the future. This data also creates an awareness and transparency around gender-based violence.
Law enforcement can now easily gain access to all of the data with specifics on time and location, thus serving as an aid in the fight against gender based-violence.
How to Report on Safecity
Enter www.safecity.in into your browser window or download the app.
Click the purple button labeled “share your story anonymously.” After you are taken to the next page, click “share incident anonymously.”
Select your city, country and language.
Follow the prompts on the screen to finish the anonymous report.
Cases of domestic abuse can be reported anonymously on Safecity’s website along with local Safe Circles where victims can vocalize their experiences and gain support from others. Reports can be completed by a witness who observed the incident or by the victim themselves.
Some survivors of abuse and harassment do not report incidents for an array of reasons, so the anonymity of reports allows for survivors to keep personal distance. It also serves to empower them and all those who would otherwise have remained silent. Reports can be made for a variety of incidents such as harassment, rape/assault, domestic violence, stalking, commenting/sexual invites and much more.
“Catcalling” which could be considered commenting/sexual invites, for example, is not illegal so reporting this to police is not common. Reporting this to Safecity, however, creates data in areas where this is a common occurrence.
These reports, whether large or small, help to locate “hotspots” where violence is the most prevalent. Some survivors are even empowered by telling their story in order to process the trauma they have experienced.
“A lot of people do not report smaller incidents because of this constant culture of silence created in our world. Reporting something that happened to yourself or to a close friend not only gives the victim a sense of ownership and has been proved to be somewhat therapeutic, but reporting also helps communities and local governments to understand violence in a specific area, and be able to come up with different approached to the patterns of violence in a specific location,” said Camila Gomide.
It should also be noted that domestic violence affects everyone whereas about 1 in 4 women (24.3 percent) and 1 in 7 men (13.8 percent) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with a fist, something hard, beaten, slammed against something) at some point in their life as according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The after-affects of domestic abuse can include physical injuries, PTSD and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases as well as a variety of other issues.
Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Call 1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453.
Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
to chat one-on-one with a trained RAINN support specialist, any time 24/7.