The atrocious rape and consequent death of an Indian female student has placed India’s rape problem under a glaring international spotlight. The outrage that followed has prompted the Indian Centre for Development of Advanced Computing to come up with a gadget that will hopefully decrease sexual crimes.
The Centre, which is under India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology, has revealed a wristwatch that has been designed specifically to send an alert to the local police and select individuals when a woman feels threatened or in danger of being sexually attacked. A woman wearing the wristwatch only has to touch a button to immediately send a text message that will alert authorities and selected individuals. Aside from notifying the police, the watch also has a built-in GPS system and video camera, making it easier to track a woman’s location and identify suspects. The Indian government believes they can come up with a prototype by the middle of the year and if it’s successful, they can mass-produce it for around $20-$50 a piece.
However, advocates and other women’s groups are skeptical of whether or not the anti-rape wristwatch will be effective in deterring crime. Even when it’s combined with the usual self-defense aids like a whistle, pepper spray or a taser, Indian women still have to deal with the police’s slow response time and the reluctance by the victim and the system to pursue cases of sexual assault. While the Indian government’s desire to protect its women are admirable, the country needs more than an anti-rape wristwatch, it needs to look inside itself and change its whole view on women.