Monday, January 18, 2021
Health And Welfare

Using technology to fight SA’s pandemic of gender-based violence

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South Africa’s annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is well underway, once again highlighting how the grave threat faced by the country’s women has reached crisis levels.

While statistics paint a grim picture, technology has a significant role to play in preventing and combating gender-based violence (GBV), says Warren Myers, Founder and CEO of AURA, South Africa’s leading security and medical response platform. This follows a live webinar, hosted by AURA in collaboration with Vumacam, featuring a carefully-selected panel to discuss a new roadmap for technology and its role in addressing GBV. Joining Myers on the panel in discussing the importance of safety and technology was Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock, Mara Glennie of the TEARS Foundation and Unam Mahlati, Senior Operations and Logistics Manager for Uber SSA.

Myers says the social and economic impact of GBV is almost unquantifiable – a sentiment shared by the webinar panel. “Safety is a key pillar of a thriving society, a necessity for human flourishing, and a non-negotiable human right. The fact that women live in fear every day suppresses innovation and progress and jeopardises the very future of our nation.”

Technology can be a useful tool in crime prevention by empowering women with the means to get assistance in the event they feel threatened or unsafe. “The AURA platform ensures anyone can access the technology that enables security companies to quickly reach victims of domestic abuse. It offers a safety net and peace of mind via on-demand emergency services where potential victims of crime can get help from the closest response vehicle in five minutes or less,” he says.

Innovative leaps in technology have the potential to make a measurable and lasting impact on society, says Myers. “We want to change the mindset of perpetrators of violence and abuse where they begin to feel a real fear of being apprehended. Perhaps more importantly, we should strive to change the mindset of society’s most vulnerable to be confident that there’s a network of people who are able to help, and who are dedicated to making it harder for people to get away with being an abuser.”

He adds that much more needs to be done to stop the scourge of GBV in South Africa. “Of course technology alone is not a panacea, but it can make a major difference if enough stakeholders work together which is why AURA is thankful to Vumacam, Uber and the TEARS Foundation for lending their support and expertise to our webinar.”

As part of its commitment to making a difference during 2020’s 16 Days of Activism AURA will ensure the availability of 1,000 responses for the TEARS Foundation to assist them in their efforts in providing access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse.

Sustainable technology-based solutions to help victims of Gender-based Violence are vital to protect South Africa’s most vulnerable. It plays a vital role in assisting women by enabling technology to tackle the epidemic of GBV, enveloping South Africa. TEARS’ free technology-based services which can be accessed by dialling *134*7355#, helps 88 217 victims of GBV per annum.

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