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Author Topic: Can a Wrist Watch Really Cure India's Rape Problem?  (Read 87 times)
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« on: Feb 26, 2013 09:44 AM »

"First I wondered why the device would text family/friends and not the police. And then I remembered: they don't care."

The Indian government needed an answer for the country's sexual assault problem, so it turned to the miracle of modern global positioning technology with the development of a wrist watch equipped with GPS and a distress button. When activated, the watch would send texts to the wearer's family and friend, and also begin automatically recording video.

India's information technology minister Kapil Sibal announced the project create this new rape deterrent a month after the brutal rape and murder of a young medical student in Delhi, an event that set off a wave of outraged protests across the country. The watch is not a unique tech-based solution in the fight to prevent sexual assault (Facebook and Twitter have been used to track assault everywhere from Syria to Steubenville), and, despite its good intentions, it's also not drawing high praise from activists in India who say that the country needs to first address the apparent apathy police and government officials have shown sexual assault cases over the years

The Daily Beast's Nina Strochlic reports that, although activists such as Rape Foundation founder and president Gail Abarbanel don't reject the positive potential that such technology has to fight sexual assault, the GPS watch that the Indian government is currently developing would function "more like a ‘rape progress report' alert" (which sounds nightmarish) than a preventative tool. According to Abarbanel, a better alternative might be for the Indian government to, oh, I don't know, focus its rape prevention efforts on men:

--In so many of these situations, rapes could be prevented but not by the women who's being sexually assaulted. Everything that's ever been promoted to prevent rape focuses on the victim.

Mobile technology can certainly play a big role in combatting sexual assault. The Rape Foundation itself has partnered with the tech firm Possible to develop an app called "Safebook," which would shift the burden of assault prevention onto the friend, bystander, or witness. The dismal reality is that, though the GPS watch sounds like it could be a helpful tool in preventing assault, it probably would have been little help in a sudden violent attack such as the Delhi bus rape. Besides, says Dr., Director of Centre For Social Research Ranjana Kumari, echoing Abarbanel, "skepticism" about such technology does not arise over its effectiveness, "it instead arises over the will of our enforcers."

That would be the Indian government and police force, institutions that have been historically disinclined to investigate and prosecute sexual assault in a responsible way. Until attitudes about sexual assault change and the focus in rape prevention shifts from victim to attacker, any technological tool to combat sexual assault will remain imperfect.

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:06 AM »

You know, whatever the Indian government does, doesn't really work, ever. They only start such projects so that everybody involved will make money and in the end, the "beneficiaries" are handed some crappy product. Contracts will be awarded to companies who pay kickbacks to these politicians. Take for example the Aakash tablet PC, touted to be the cheapest tablet PC in the world, it is effectively also the most useless. A slate and stylus would probably be more useful.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 26, 2013 11:03 AM »

Until attitudes about sexual assault change and the focus in rape prevention shifts from victim to attacker, any technological tool to combat sexual assault will remain imperfect.

I don't think that attitude towards sexual assault is going to change ever in India or anywhere in the world. If anything its only going to get worse. In that senario technology does give a ray of hope. Very recently an IT professional in Hyderabad prevented her abduction and rape by an auto driver and his friend by using pepper spray (which is also technology in a very basic way).   
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 26, 2013 11:45 AM »

This is how to stop rapes.

It wont stop all rapes but will stop most of them because Most rapist are repeat offenders who soon after they are released from prison for their last rape.
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