Iqra University students develop app to report sexual harassment


A group of students from Iqra University, Islamabad, have joined the fight against harassment by developing a mobile phone application called Speak Up.

By using the app, one can counter sexual harassment by putting it on record forever, and ensuring that the predator is reported to relevant authorities so that legal action may be initiated against them.

The app can easily be downloaded and enables a person to report cases of sexual harassment, abuse or assault. The process of reporting an incident is simple owing to an easy to use interface and gives the victim the option to make a complaint without disclosing his or her identity.

Though, information such as the victim’s and offender’s gender, the location of offence and details of the incident would be taken to file a case.

The app also has a function called the distress message, which allows one to send an emergency signal to three chosen contacts with a single click of a button.

On the click of the button, the location of offence is updated on a heatmap and the information is then forwarded with the concerned authorities for relevant action.

The project has been provided technical and financial assistance by the Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), a national level non-profit organisation that promotes development through youth participation.

Several hundred cases of sexual abuse were reported all over the country in 2018 including those of Patari cofounder and CEO Khalid Bajwa, comedian Junaid Akram, and Zainab from Kasur. However, the #metoo movement in Pakistan has been a failed one owing to the strong grip of patriarchy and so-called traditional values which are enforced as a form of maintaining power over women.