Could This Mobile App Help Sexual Violence Victims Obtain Justice?

Could This Mobile App Help Sexual Violence Victims Obtain Justice?

When it comes to sexual violence, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are among the most dangerous places in the world. Wars and conflicts are the main culprits, but the issue is aggravated by psychological, cutural, infrastructural and organizational barriers. Victims are often reluctant to report sexual violence because they don't trust the judiciary or because they don't want to be stigmatized. Vital information is not always shared across different stakeholders: clinicians, police officers, lawyers, and judges, due to silo mentality, or simple distrust. The forms used to document medical evidence of sexual violence are usually available only in paper format, not properly stored and can therefore be easily lost, damaged or stolen. Technology can't do much to solve the first two issues, but it can contribute to adressing the third one. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a U.S.-based international NGO has joined forces up with New York-based Main Street Computing to create MediCapt, a smartphone application for Android devices that can streamline the very unpleasant but necessary task of properly reporting the violence. MediCapt combines a custom-designed medical intake form (known in Kenya as Post Rape Care form, or PRC) with secure mobile camera functionalies for forensic photography. First of all, Naimer explains, "clinicians are able to complete the fields on MediCapt without Wi-Fi connectivity." The data are then securely stored on the device, in encrypted form, and transmitted in small chunks as soon as a connection is available.

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When it comes to sexual violence, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are among the most dangerous places in the world. In Kenya, fourteen percent of women and six percent of men aged 15-49 report having experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime (the percentage goes up to 45 and 44 percent respectively, if generic ‘physical violence’ is considered).

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has notoriously been described as the “rape capital of the world”, fares even worse: the United Nations estimates that around 200,000 Congolese women have been raped in the 1998-2013 period.

Wars and conflicts are the main culprits, but the issue is aggravated by psychological, cutural, infrastructural and organizational barriers.

Victims are often reluctant to report sexual violence because they don’t trust the judiciary or because they don’t want to be stigmatized. Vital information is not always shared across different stakeholders: clinicians, police officers, lawyers, and judges, due to silo mentality, or simple distrust. The forms used to document medical evidence of sexual violence are usually available only in paper format, not properly stored and can therefore be easily lost, damaged or stolen.

Technology can’t do much to solve the first two issues, but it can contribute to adressing the third one. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a U.S.-based international NGO has joined forces up with New York-based Main Street Computing to create MediCapt, a smartphone application for Android devices that can streamline the very unpleasant but necessary task of properly reporting the violence.

MediCapt. Physicians for Human Rights

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“We have just launched MediCapt with patients in Kenya in close partnership with clinicians and government officials there. Our next step is to support the launch of MediCapt…

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