What Does HarassMap Teach Us?

What Does HarassMap Teach Us?

harassmap

In 2010, HarassMap was created as a form of counter-mapping to protest and prevent various forms of assault from occurring against women. According to HarassMap’s website, HarassMap aims to create awareness of sexual harassment, rape, stalking and much more. It does this by mapping assaults so that women will know where they occur and to whom they occur. HarassMap currently maps incidents that happen throughout Egypt, and it teaches its citizens about important things, such as safety when it comes to violence, having a support network and the challenging of stereotypes, all of which will be discussed in further detail below.

Safety

Harassment against women is more common than many people realise, which is why HarassMap is a great way to create awareness of this violence. It teaches people to be cautious, prepared and informed when it comes to harassment. For example, the video below was filmed in Cairo, Egypt. It makes use of a hidden camera to demonstrate just how much attention women receive on a daily basis while casually roaming popular areas of Egypt. As you can see, the woman in this video attracts a lot of attention from most of the men she walks past. Although she is not being physically harassed, according to the makers of this BuzzFeed video, ‘the high frequency of stares makes it the most common form of sexual harassment, violating a woman’s ability to feel safe while walking in the streets.’ This video shows that harassment against women is more common than people think, which is one of the many things that HarassMap aims to teach us.

Creating a Support Network

HarassMap states on their website that HarassMap ‘is a tool for anyone who has been harassed or assaulted and for witnesses of harassment and assault all over Egypt to anonymously share and report their experiences.’ This means that HarassMap aims to teach people where incidents occur, and that it is okay to share their experiences. Sharing violent stories can be very personal, but by sharing their stories anonymously, victims are able to find other people who have also experienced violence without revealing who they are. This will help people to heal, and it will hopefully prevent others from being subjected to the same kind of violence.

Challenging Stereotypes

According to HarassMap’s website, HarassMap also ‘breaks stereotypes about where, when and to whom harassment happens’. This demonstrates that by mapping incidents of violence, HarassMap challenges what people think they know by proving to them that violence also occurs in areas that people may have previously believed to be crime free. It teaches us that stereotypes about which areas are safe and unsafe are not always true, and that violence happens everywhere. When people become aware of this information, they often fight to make their area as safe as possible, which is one of the things that HarassMap aims to achieve. They want people to be careful and informed about violence, because it can happen to anyone, no matter where you live or who you are.

As you can see from the image below, harassment occurs in most of the areas displayed. It does not occur in one place only, which reinforces what is discussed above.

Screen-Shot-2013-01-31-at-12.09.46

There are many things that can be learnt from HarassMap, but the safety of citizens, having a support network and challenging stereotypes seem to be the main objectives of this particular counter-mapping movement. The results probably vary from person to person, but HarassMap teaches us a lot about violence and how to manage it.

For further insight, please view this video archive, which displays a number of short videos regarding harassment and assault in Egypt. It is quite interesting, as it shows people of different ages and opinions, their current knowledge about violence and why they feel that violence occurs. It demonstrates what many people think before they are aware of HarassMap, and how their opinions change after.

References:

Berger, M. 2014, ‘This video shows what street harassment is like for women in Egypt’, BuzzFeed, viewed 7 April 2015,
http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/this-is-what-street-harrasment-is-like-for-women-in-egypt#.dxaj27nnA

Evans, N 2015, Mapping the Planet, lecture notes taken in Global Media and Social Justice at The University of Wollongong, on 17 March 2015.

HarassMap.org, ‘The Map’, HarassMap Website, viewed 7 April 2015,
http://harassmap.org/en/what-we-do/the-map/

HarassMap.org, ‘Videos’, HarassMap Website, viewed 7 April 2015,
http://harassmap.org/en/resource-center/videos/

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One thought on “What Does HarassMap Teach Us?

  1. Hey! I think you’ve done an amazing job with this post as I’ve never heard of HarassMap and now i know there’s such thing that exist, it’s extremely amazing! I think you’ve also pointed out many reasons why the maps are extremely helpful for one’s safety 🙂

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