'Harass Tracker' allows women to report locations where they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in Beirut
Three Lebanese female entrepreneurs have designed an online sexual harassment tracker in the hope of combating sexual crimes in Beirut. The website 'Harass Tracker', is an online reporting platform where users can anonymously mark the exact location of any harassment they have experienced or witnessed. Users can also describe the event and add details of the harassment, such as whether it was verbal or physical. Nay el-Rahi, Mira el-Mir and Sandra el-Hassan developed the website as a step to collect information about harasssment in the capital. Rahi explained that the data they collect could help support the relevant authorities reduce harassment in certain urban neighbourhoods. "Everyone in Lebanon knows that there is harassment, people are used to it and consider it normal. At the same time, we don't have enough tangible data for us to work on or let the relevant agencies work on this subject and solve it. So we decided to start an initiative that can at least allow the victims of sexual harassment, to allow these women, to report these incidents happening in an anonymous way, for sure that does not show the identity of the reporter, but it can at least show what is happening, what kind of harassment is taking place and where. This way, if we want to suggest a solution to the relevant agencies, we would have data on our hands to support our solution," Rahi said. Once on the website, users can fill out an incident form - in Arabic or English - to provide details of the harassment while pinning the location on the map. Visitors can also go through the pins, clicking on them, to read previously submitted reports. On the busy streets of Beirut, Amerian visitor to Beirut Skyler said she welcomed the People on the streets of Beirut, both men and women, encouraged the initiative and considered it empowers women and 'victims of sexual harassment'. "There's a lot of experiences that I have with people saying things as I am walking in the streets, and I think it would be really beneficial to have an app where you can explain what's happening and show people this is the reality, because it happens often," American Skyler said, as she visits Beirut. Lebanese student, Rayan Karameh, on the other side agreed with Skyler on the benefits of such a service but doubted Lebanon's state possible support. "I think this should happen, there should be an application, but Lebanon would not help in the success of such an application. if we complain about anything, things take a very long time for someone or a girl to assert their rights." Harasstracker.org, who was launched in February 2016, and include different details about sexual harassment in Lebanon including a list of non-governmental organizations that offer help to those who face such incidents. Future plans for the initiative might include an application, but Rahi said they are keen on keeping the financing independent without tying themselves to any fund or organization. The trio hope to expand the tracking website to cover areas across Lebanon.