One of the biggest systematic problems that contribute to rape culture is the difficulty encountered while reporting. Approximately 99% of rape cases go unreported, according to government estimates. How can we ever aim to achieve progress in such a dire condition? Smashboard, a new Indian app, may have the answer.
What Is Smashboard?
The app was launched on November 12 by Noopur Tiwari, an journalist. It is meant to be a "digital ally" for sexual assault victims, with multiple features to help them out.
The app includes a time-stamped journal as well as vetted mental health professionals, lawyers, and journalists. Through the help of blockchain technology, Smashboard allows victims virtually perfect privacy and security.
Blockchain technology functions through storing encrypted serial data records on millions of computers, hence requiring a hacker to alter at least 51% of the devices for malicious purposes. Through the use of a public and private key, as well as digital signatures instead of identifying features, users are granted a high level of anonymity, making it easier for them to engage in conversation and seek help despite adverse social and systematic conditions.
Users can also reach out to journalists with secure encryption to report their stories and experiences with authorities if they wish. With Tiwari's extended experience in interacting with sexual assault victims, Smashboard is tailored to help the same.
While Smashboard is self-funded at the moment, the team plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign soon in order to expand the network and help more victims gain access and resources.
A New Currency To SMASH The Patriarchy
Currently, the government does not regulate cryptocurrencies, and there are many barriers to using the same in India, although there is no outright ban on crypto trading. However, if the government takes a more active approach towards regulating the same, Smashboard plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called SMASH. This would allow ethical investing in a field that is currently dominated by young men (technology.) Investment can remain anonymous, and help fund more tools in the app.
At the moment, the app is only available in the languages of English, French, and Spanish. This makes it inherently inaccessible to non-English speaking populations in the country. Several low-income and rural inhabitants hence cannot use the app functionally yet, and these tend to be the people suffering the brunt of the issue.
However, Tiwari hopes to increase Smashboard's accessibility for Indians with our varied regional languages and cultures. She also aims to help marginalised communities who may not have access to smartphones, hence the app, at the moment. For this, of course, Smashboard shall require more resources, investment, and a larger team than the one at the moment.
All in all, Smashboard is a great and novel initiative that could bring about massive social progress. With enough exposure and investment, such innovations could be the step forward India needs to become a safer, more progressive country to live in.