Mobile Phone Apps Target Harassment Problems

Almost a year ago, Violet Kittappa was riding the subway when she noticed a middle aged man working his way toward her, she attempted to read her book and ignore the man. She felt a nudge on her leg and could hear the man breathing heavily and see his face contorted, she looked down and realized that the man was rubbing against her.

Ms. Kittappa considers that event the one that made her into an activist, she visited ihollaback.org, a website which encourages women to post accounts of harassment and abuse as part of a campaign to end these pervasive, yet for some reason shameful secret acts that are being committed against women every day.

Now Hollaback which refers to the act of responding to harassment in the Internet is expanding its service to mobile decides. A new iPhone application allows users to report harassment in seconds. Not only that but they can take photos of the person who accosted them and publicize them which allows the women to be empowered by providing images to the police and embarrassing those who have harassed them.

Instant app reports form mobile devices are automatically mapped and a follow up email is sent from Hollaback to ask for a more detailed account. Interactive technology is a wonderful tool for locating hot spots and catching offenders. Harassment on the street or at a job is something that offenders have found is usually met with silence; therefore the occurrences are often unreported.

Unwanted sexual touching such as groping or rubbing up against someone is a crime. All forms of harassment from catcalls to suggestive comments, and abuse in the form of touching or cornering a victim need to be stopped, even when women are at work. If women allow it to continue unchecked, unreported and unpunished then women will always have that fear of the approach of an unknown male.



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