Mxit targets rape with new app

2013-08-07 14:02
(Picture: Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Picture: Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The issue of rape will be tackled online with the launch of a rape support app on Mxit.

The Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust will launch its information portal, RapeCrisis, on Mxit on Friday.

"Research conducted by Rape Crisis in 2011 showed that a lack of information and a poor understanding of how the criminal justice system works prevents rape survivors from accessing justice," Mxit said.

The application will form part of the social network's MySafety app and seeks to provide information for rape survivors.

It will show survivors how to report a rape to the police, seek medical treatment as well as information on court proceedings.

Crime statistics

"Our mission is to act as a bridge between the rape survivor and the criminal justice system," said Kathleen Dey, director for Rape Crisis.

Crime statistics in SA indicate a decrease in most forms on contact crime (or violent crime) but experts questioned the validity of the results.

"The rate has been more than halved. The police are nowhere near their targets, with some categories of crime - such as business robberies - increasing," said Institute for Security Studies researcher Dr Johan Burger.

Mxit has around seven million active users and was ideal to launch the application, said Dey.

"Rape Crisis is committed to offering survivors information that is clear, accurate and accessible. The value of the Mxit mobile social network is that it is an inexpensive, easily accessible tool with enormous reach as it can work on nearly any phone."

Earlier this year, teenager Anene Booysen was brutally raped and murdered in Bredasdorp, resulting in a national outcry for the victims of rape.

On Saturday a four month old baby and 7-year-old boy were both raped in Ceres, re-igniting community anger against the alleged perpetrator on the issue of rape.

Mxit said that it developed the MySafety application in response to the rape crisis.

"The MySafety app was created earlier this year in response to the Anene Booysen tragedy. Including the information from Rape Crisis increases the value of this app immeasurably as a tool to inform and empower our users," said Andrew Rudge, head of Mxit Reach.

The RapeCrisis app is a free download and will be launched on Women's Day.

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