POWA app wants to fight women abuse
17 August 2017
South African women's rights organisation People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) today unveiled an app it hopes will help survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). The app is launched in association with Vodacom, powered by the social development and police departments. It is available free for Android and Apple smartphones.
The app's welcome page gives the user a directory of numbers, a list of service points and their numbers, an ‘Around Me' option that points abuse survivors to places on a map where they can be helped, and a place to report incidents of violence. There is also a panic button that will call a pre-programmed number immediately when pressed. When reporting incidents within the app, the address is automatically picked up and users enter the name of the survivor, the survivor's contact information and a description of the incident. There is an option to add a photograph. Those who report the incident do not necessarily have to be the victim and can report anonymously if they wish.
After an incident has been reported, a social worker will contact the victim to provide shelter if needed. POWA did not say how long it will take the social worker to contact the survivor. At the time of writing, the app was available to download but the directory held no contacts, there were no points on the map, and there was a limited number of service points listed.
POWA was established as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 1979. "GBV is a global crisis and it is through initiatives such as this that the scourge can be diminished," it says. The NGO says in SA a rape occurs every 17 seconds, one in two women admit to being raped, and one in four men admit to raping a woman.
POWA and government held a panel discussion this morning to discuss the role technology plays in addressing GBV.
Bathabile Dlamini, minister of social development and leader of the African National Congress Women's League, took a moment to clarify her position on women abuse, after her previous comments on the issue caused controversy this week. She says SA is plagued by men who exact their power over women, and these men should not be let off free just because they have not yet killed a woman.