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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Twitter Dialogue With Safecity On Sexual Harassment And Ways To Combat It

  • IWB Post
  •  August 11, 2018

Have you ever sat down and wondered if your neighborhood is safe enough for people, especially women and children, to walk around unperturbed at any hour of the day? If you have and the answer is ‘no,’ have you done anything about it? We at IWB, are on a pursuit to not just raise all such questions but to find the appropriate answers and solutions to them through our ‘Vocal Streets campaign.

A part of our campaign is to reclaim the streets of Jaipur through the power of music rendered by our star singer Komal in collaboration with the amazing Jaipur Police band. Here take a look at the first teaser of the cover song ‘Confident’ by Demi Lovato released by IWB on Thursday:

Indian Women Blog

VocalStreets: Pumping up the streets with a 1st teaser of the cover song Confident by Demi Lovato. Our crazy talented vocalist Komal Panwar is bringing da house down! Stay tuned for a musical head…


As it must be quiet apparent by now, we are slowly but persistently marching our ways to our goals i.e. to reclaim the streets of Jaipur for its womenfolk. Adding to our efforts towards the same pursuit, we conducted a Twitter dialogue with  on Friday and engaged in an in-depth discussion on the topic of street harassment and the ways to combat it.

Safecity is working towards making cities safer by encouraging equal access to public spaces for everyone especially women, employing the use of crowdsourced data and technology.

“We are creating a new data set which currently does not exist. Perception of the police’s insensitivity, as well as cultural backlash, deters people from reporting. They feel more comfortable using our platform and this is seen by reports from over 20 years ago. By representing the information thus collected on a map as hotspots, we are moving the focus away from the “victim” to the location and people can view the issue with a different lens,” reads the About section of their website.

Launched on December 26, 2012, the Safecity app lets women share stories of harassment and abuse they face in public spaces, to report “what happened, where it happened and when it happened”. The information collected is then translated onto a map in the form of hotspots or location-based trends.

Elsa D’Silva in a conversation that she had with IWB earlier this year talked about the app and its purpose in detail. She said, “My main aim was, and is, to encourage people, be it, men or women, to share their stories and bridge the gap that is created by incidents not reported at all which gives us a fake sense of security that a particular place is ‘safe’ just because there have been no reported incidents.”

“We strongly believe that when we teach our children to respect equality, consent, and boundaries, to value other lives as our own, we will be building a future that will be devoid of violence against women and girls. If we bring up our boys with such values, our girls will not need saving,” says Supreet K Singh, the Director & COO of Red Dot Foundation- Safecity.

Through the Twiter dialogue, we got into an expansive chat on the general attitude pertaining to street harassment, the right ways to respond to it, the process of reporting such instances and much more. Here are the excerpts:

How to remove the “casualness, lightheartedness, it’s just catcalls and not rape” attitude

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog We need to nip the bud of sexual harassment in the beginning, we need to stop them at staring, catcalling, whistling, leering and the entire gamut of non-verbal harassment and gestures. It isn’t small and it’s not okay. #VocalStreets

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog When the perpetrator is not called out and stopped for actions like whistling, catcalling, ogling and other non-verbal harassment, he is emboldened to go further leading to stalking, groping and more physical forms of harassment and violence. #VocalStreets

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog This is what we found when we went around speaking to the women of Mumbai #VocalStreets

The correct way to respond to street harassment

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog If you are in an isolated place, try to leave as quickly as possible. As we teach children, follow the ‘No-Go-Tell’ rule wherever possible. #VocalStreets


Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Yes, this works. Pretend to call someone if you don’t have the time to actually dial a number, pretend to call out to someone you know in the street even if there’s no one.

On targetting the issue through Bollywood

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Bollywood has the power to influence the behaviour of a vast majority of our people. #VocalStreets

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Yes, they should be sensitised. Men need to be part of the fight against sexual violence. They are part of the solution. They can refuse roles that promote harassment, stalking, misogyny etc. They’ve the power & responsibility to make such suggestions in films they are a part of


Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog We had a campaign last year called ‘Not My Hero’ to call out the sexism, inequalities and non-consensual attitude prevalent and kind of cheered in Bollywood movies. #VocalStreets

Removing the fear, shame, and stigma attached to going to a police station and reporting cases of harassment

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog We can work towards stopping it, removing the shame, fear and stigma by talking to women, informing them of their legal rights, making them aware that sexual harassment in any form is NOT okay #VocalStreets #Streetharassment

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Our app allows women to report anonymously, leaving no chance for shame, stigma or fear. We then turn their reports into short poems called #BrokenSilences. When others read these, they feel encouraged to share their story #VocalStreets

How to encourage women to step up for themselves

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog When they come to know that behaviour like staring, whistling, ogling is also a crime and the perpetrator can be punished, they will not accept it as ‘normal’. #VocalStreets

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog And again, solidarity. We have seen this after #nirbhaya and the #MeToo movement. When a few begin to share their stories, other women relate to them and find the courage to share their stories too. #VocalStreets


Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Also, intervene. Don’t be a silent bystander. If you see someone being harassed, try to stop it, support the victim. #VocalStreets

Defining a safe environment for reporting

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog A safe environment is where the survivor is not scared, pressurised, intimidated, is not blamed. #VocalStreets


Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Our Safecity Mobile app can be downloaded through the following links to report sexual violence in public spaces. It is available is English, Hindi and Spanish. Android : iOS :

On sensitizing the Police while taking a complaint report

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog It is a bit difficult to sensitize police WHILE filing a report. But knowing your rights is important, then you cannot be taken for a ride. They understand that you know what you are doing. #VocalStreets

How to make reporting more inclusive?

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Confidentiality of reports must be observed. #VocalStreets

Does gender define the gravity of the crime?

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog We find that females and transgenders face more harassment in public spaces. However, males too face harassment. It is difficult for them to report due to our patriarchal structure. Also, there is no law yet for men to report harassment in workplaces or public spaces.

Indian Women Blog on Twitter

@pinthecreep Can you talk about having equality in laws – many complain that the current laws are women-centric.

Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Yes, it is important for the law to be all inclusive, zero tolerant and that is what we advocate. But it will take a while for that to happen. The law for #POSH came only recently, the law for sexual harassment in public spaces had amendments only after #Nirbhaya


What “Reclaim” denotes for safe streets?

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Safecity/Gurnoor on Twitter

@indianwomenblog Having equal, free and safe access to public spaces anytime and anywhere, irrespective of gender and socio-economic classes. #VocalStreets


vocal streets

Au Small Finance Bank, IWB’s Partner for the campaign ‘Vocal Streets,’ is marching ahead to make streets vocal about women’s dreams and reclaim these spaces for their businesses. Hence, Street Safety is our right, and we will own it! Check out its street-smart and safe financial services at 

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