The 'anti-groping app' has become a hit in Japan - could it be something that would work in South Africa?

The train is torturous commute for women
The train is torturous commute for women

The Digi Police app by Tokyo police has garnered much attention for its attempts to scare off gropers in public transport.

According to AFP, the app has been a hit in Japan, amassing more than 237 000 downloads. The officials say this is unusually high for a public service app.

This app is aimed at assisting women who often travel in trains filled to capacity, leaving them vulnerable to gropers on the trains.

READ MORE: This woman developed an app that can help locate users who may be in danger of sexual assault

AFP reports that the app allows the person being violated to activate the app to either blast out a voice shouting "stop it" or to produce a full-screen SOS message they can show other passengers that reads; "There is a molester. Please help."

Women facing sexual abuse on public transport is an issue in many countries across the globe, and it’s certainly a big problem in South Africa as well.

Extending the reach of public safety with technology is a nifty and relevant way government can improve its service delivery. The local public security officials have been met with much criticism in South Africa, specifically for how they address sexual violence in the country.

READ MORE: These 8 named men confessed how they sexually assaulted women to the New York Times - and it's incredibly powerful

A feature by City Press shows that women who commute on overcrowded public trains experience sexual abuse from male commuters.

The newspaper reports that the women commuters “remain silent as their rights are violated because there are no security or law enforcement agents around”.

One woman shared an account of a time when she left the train with what looked like semen on her dress, while others had their private parts touched by strange men.

READ MORE: Can R50 a session afford you the kind of therapy the poor and rich should be getting?

But could a similar initiative to the Japanese app work in South Africa?

According to Statistics SA, 68.5% of women are a victim of a sexual offence. Stats SA also reports that police visibility has decreased in communities, with 21.8% of the people surveyed saying they never see a police officer in uniform in their area of residence.

Do you think a similar app could effectively address public sexual offences in South Africa? Let us know below:

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