Women Under Siege: Crowdsourcing Anti-Violence in Syria

5 Apr

Women Under Siege - Documenting Sexualized Violence in Syria

It wasn’t too long ago that iPaidABribe focused its sights on crooked officials, showing us that focusing on the individual is a good way to call attention to an issue that is usually reduced to a statistic. This is the driving force behind the Women Under Siege Crowdmap, where citizens can cultivate, categorize and document reports of sexual assault on a navigable map of Syria. The victims themselves, or any witnesses, are encouraged to (anonymously) contribute to the map to find crimes the news reports miss.

The aim of this is two-pronged. First is to put a face on these heinous crimes. It’s easy to say “oh yeah, rape is a problem in Syria, we should do something about that,” but when you have the intimate stories of a dozen women in a particular town who have been assaulted, it puts a finer point on the issue. These are now people, instead of simply numbers, and there is a more personal level added to the issue.

And speaking of numbers, the crime of rape itself is woefully under-reported in Syria. In America and the UK, there were 29.3 and 23.7 rapes reported in 2010 per hundred thousand people, respectively. Compare this to Syria, with its rate of 0.7 per hundred thousand, and it’s extremely obvious that the vast majority of rapes go unreported. This crowdmap provides a tangible account not only of the occurrences themselves, but geographic and severity data, and the level of anonymity means that victims can feel secure in submitting their data and then immediately see how it will be used to help prevent further incidents.

Social media is all about putting power in the hands of the people who previously had none. There is no better use for it than to keep said people safe and free from harm instead of defenseless.


4 Responses to “Women Under Siege: Crowdsourcing Anti-Violence in Syria”

  1. comm498A April 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Its valuable to highlight this courageous example of crowd sourcing. In addition to rape, in Syria they are also torturing and murdering women and children – in the hundreds. Anyway, a sobering choice…

  2. Emily May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Nice! I’m a big fan of crowdsourcing in GIS.


  1. Facewatch: Crowdsourced Crimefighting Revisited « Tiny Work - April 9, 2012

    […] at once, the police definitely can’t. This is why we see platforms like iPaidABribe and the Syrian Sexual Assault Crowdmap; the crowd can be the eyes for the police and fill in where the normal service may not be […]

  2. Gaming, Porn, and LEGO: The Common Thread (Part 2 of 2) « Tiny Work - June 25, 2012

    […] typically insular activities that were given a chance for public recognition. It didn’t take long to find several. It would seem this is the real deal, so if you’re hoping to take advantage […]

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