Safecity Monthly Update – March 2016


Safecity is growing exponentially and we’re constantly working hard to translate our vision to reality. Because we don’t want you to miss out on our work, we’ve decided to put together a monthly column to tell you about what we’ve been up to.  You can sign up for our newsletter here.

We’ve covered previously unexplored ground and reached more people in the month of March. Read on to know more about what we’ve been upto.

International Women’s Day, 2016

Safecity celebrated International Women’s Day with the women of Indira Nagar (Sanjay Gandhi Nagar) and the women and girls of Bandra Plot in Jogeshwari East, Mumbai and the on ground team of Vacha Charitable Trust, our partner organisation.

The Indira Nagar event was in the form of a Mela (fun and fair) with games, music and a lot of fun- as we felt that women too had a right to let loose and enjoy themselves. It was a lovely day and the mela had a participation of over 70 women. Read more about the mela here.

Talking to women about the campaign
Anu from Safecity having a discussion with the women. – Women’s Day Mela at Indira Nagar

The Bandra Plot event with 25 women and girls comprised of a discussion, some fun games and a screening of the movie “Gaon nahi kinhi paanch ka”- a film where marginalized people in the village, especially the women, come together to bring about change. Read more about this event here.

Sharing dreams and aspirations. – At the Bandra Plot Women’s Day activity

We also conducted a safety sprawl with 20 Safety Champions from TCS at Powai on March 9, 2016. See pictures from the sprawl here.


Broken Silences

On International Women’s Day we launched a new poster series called Broken Silences which chronicles stories of sexual harassment survivors in a tiny story format. The aim is to educate the different kinds of sexual harassment people face and encourage them to report as they are not alone. Check out the weekly series here.

Poster from our Broken Silences Series


Safecity wins at the Social Media for Empowerment Summit and Awards, 2016

Safecity is a winner of the Social Media for Empowerment Award by Digital Empowerment Foundation in the Women Empowerment category. Ashwini Syed and Salini Sharma were at the ceremony to receive the award on behalf of the team.

Ashwini Syed and Salini Sharma after the Awards ceremony

Nineteen initiatives were announced Winners and four others received Special Mentions at the Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2016 amid much discussion, debate, networking and celebration at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on March 15, 2016. The day-long 3rd Social Media for Empowerment Awards and Summit programme was organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), with the strategic partnership of Twitter.

Safecity goes International

In March, Safecity had the opportunity to participate in several global conferences.

Safecity in Thailand: Rotary Peace Fellowship

Our Founder and Managing Director, ElsaMarie DSilva recently concluded a 3 month certification course on Peace building and Conflict Resolution as a Rotary Peace Fellow at the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Read about her experiences and see pictures on our Facebook page here.

ElsaMarie DSilva, Safecity Managing Director at Soroptimist International of Bangkok

 #NotTheCost Conference, New York

On the sidelines of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW 2016) in New York on March 17, 2016, our Founder and Managing Director was invited to speak at The National Democracy Institute’s #NotTheCost Conference as a panelist. See pictures and know more about the conference here.

ElsaMarie on the panel to talk about our work at Safecity at #NotTheCost Conference, New York


Our Kenyan partner Polycom development project hosted an event at the CSW NGO Forum on 19th March, 2016 to discuss Safecity’s work and how crowd mapping can be used to address sexual violence in public spaces. Know more about the event by clicking here.

Panel to discuss Safecity’s work and how crowd mapping can be used to address sexual violence in public spaces at CSW NGO Forum.


Safecity Emerging Leaders

Safecity is celebrating the journey of people who have emerged as leaders as our campaigns progressed in their communities through our blog series “Safecity Emerging Leaders“. Read the inspiring stories of these individuals who are passionate about making their neighbourhoods safer with Safecity and have taken action in their own special ways.

Read this month’s Emerging Leader, Arun’s story on our blog here.


Arun is working with a group of boys to design murals for an arterial road that is accessed by most people of Sanjay Camp. They spend afternoons creating sketches, brainstorming on ideas, speaking to people around them to figure what best to convey through those murals. Arun believes in the power of art and he is confident that the message will spread wide and across through these murals.

Know Our Team

Know Our Team is a new blog series that attempts to bring to you the stories of our team, share our experiences, why we do what we do and special moments that have left an indelible mark in each of our lives.

Read this month’s blog by Riddhima Sharma, our Communications Officer on her passion for gender justice and journey with Safecity here.

DSC_1259 (2)
Riddhima facilitating a discussion on safe/unsafe spaces at a ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop with adolescent girls.


Indira Nagar Survey on Sexual Violence in Public Spaces

Safecity, in collaboration with Vacha Charitable Trust, is conducting a campaign against sexual violence in public spaces in the community of Indira Nagar located in Jogeshwari East, Mumbai.

After we conducted a workshop and mapping exercise with adolescent girls of the community, they created a survey based on the Safecity reporting form. In addition to the existing questions of the what, when and where of incidences of sexual violence- the girls added questions such as what action was taken after, who did the responder share this incident with, what were the repercussions of this incident and so on.

The survey was conducted over a few months looking at a sample of 100 girls between the ages of 10 to 20 years. The data reveals the following trends:

  • Out of the 100 girls, 96 girls said that they have experienced some form of sexual violence.
  • Most of these incidents have been in the form of comments, rude stares and whistling, however there have also been cases of touching and groping, and of rape.
  • 51% reported that these incidents took place nearby, especially in the lanes near their home. 19% reported facing sexual harassment near their colleges and schools.

Sexual Harassment pie

  • On being asked what was the effect of the incident of sexual violence, most respondents spoke about how they had to change the route they normally took. At first, this effect may not seem that drastic, however if one understands its implications as how the onus of violence is placed on the girl, as well as how such an act may affect her access to spaces, we see how sexual harassment can lead to structural violence. Further, if one takes into account the fear that makes these girls change their route, we see how sexual harassment can affect their mental health.
  • With regard to what action was taken 57% did not take any action, and those who did mainly shared the incident with someone. Only 1 girl made a police complaint. Through this data we can imagine the lack of reporting that is associated with sexual harassment.

Effect on Life

Over the next few months, Safecity, through this campaign will aim to break these silences and spread awareness and dispel myths around sexual harassment. This campaign will not only collect much needed data on the issue, but also equip the community with the tools needed to raise a voice against gender based violence.

SafeGoa: Updates from Panjim and Ponda

SafeGoa aims to create a platform where data on sexual harassment in public spaces can be collected by making the process more accessible and anonymous. This is done through the use of low tech methodologies such as printed open maps.

Over the last two months, Safecity in collaboration with The Bachchao project, have been doing some fantastic work in the cities of Panjim and Ponda under the project SafeGoa.

Gender talkies
Gender Talkies at Kala Academy

Till now we’ve received over a hundred reports of sexual harassment in public spaces, began conversations across the state and the support of many locals on this project. We had two events in March under this project- Safe Goa, Serene Goa at People Tree and Gender Talkies at Kala Academy. Read about these events on our blog here.


Through our tweetchats we are trying to facilitate important conversations around various issues related to gender in general and women’s issues in particular.

Our curators this month held two interesting tweetchats, one on Women’s Safety during Holi and the second on Fitness in Public Spaces.

Check out the storified tweetchats on our blog here and here.

Poster from our TweetChat on Fitness in Public Spaces

This is all for March. Keep watching this space and we’ll keep you updated on all our work and exciting activities every month!


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