• Women are taking matters into their own hands by developing and launching apps to protect themselves from sexual harassment. (Digital Vision / Getty Images)Source: Digital Vision / Getty Images
Women are taking matters into their own hands by developing and launching apps to protect themselves from sexual harassment.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

8 Dec 2016 - 2:00 PM  UPDATED 8 Dec 2016 - 2:00 PM

According to research at The Australia Institute in 2015, 87 per cent of Australian women have experienced sexual harassment in public - that is catcalling, sexual slurs, or being physically attacked.

These figures are just as bad abroad, as explained by stopstreetharrassment.org

But now, women from around the world are taking matters into their own hands.

Take these three women from Lebanese entrepreneurs: Sandra Hassan, Myra El Mir, and Nay El Rahi together have developed an app to prevent street harassment in Beirut, where around one-third of women are subjected to sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

The app, called Harass Tracker, allows women report, map, and track cat-calling offenders in the Lebanese capital.

The developers hope the app will "empower victims to report” harassment and sexual crimes as well as “raise awareness as to the frequency and severity of sexual harassment in the city” through their app.

“In the longer term, we hope to use the data collected to offer recommendations on how to tackle this issue practically as well as contribute to a shift in perception with regards to sexual harassment,” Hassan tells Newsweek.

Launched in February this year, the app and its creators have recently been featured in BBC 100 Women series.

Harass Tracker has inspired other such tracking apps geared towards women’s safety around the world.

Ec Shlire, which translates to ‘Walk Freely’ in Albanian is used in Kosovo to allow women to feel safer when out in public. It, too, was developed by a group of female entrepreneurs and coders. The group is called Girls Coding Kosova.

Around 64 per cent of women reported having experienced sexual harassment while in public, according to a 2016 study conducted by Kosovo Women's Network. 

“In Kosovo a lot of women who experience harassment don’t go report it directly to the police, because the police may not take one incident of harassment on the street so seriously,” says programmer Albana Dulaj. “If we have more reports, I believe they’ll take it more seriously.”

Ec Shlire is based upon a similar American app of the same function called Hollaback.

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