, ,

Blockchain App ‘Smashboard’ Offers Help for India’s Sexual Abuse Victims

  • Smashboard is a blockchain-enabled app that plans to help sexual abuse victims in India.
  • The app plans to reduce the trauma that’s associated with reporting incidents.
  • Smashboard plans to add more features to help victims in the future.

The Me Too movement in India gained steam last year when popular figures decided to come out with their stories of sexual abuse by those in positions with power. The movement spurred a series of anonymous testimonies from victims of sexual abuse in India who were originally silenced.

But then, it is not easy being a victim of sexual abuse and coming out with your story. The victims have to recount the trauma they underwent. And even then, there’s the possibility that the victims might face hostilities from their families or their stories might be treated as lies. To tackle the negatives arising out of such scenarios, sexual abuse victims in India can now take the help of the blockchain-enabled Smashboard app.

“Survivors will know the tremendous value of this space” ⁦@manavikapur⁩ spoke to us for ⁦@qzindia⁩ and writes about what Smashboard is trying to bring to feminists, survivors and their allies. https://t.co/y3KBk5WZwj

— Smashboard_ (@Smashboard_) December 5, 2019

What is Smashboard and how it uses blockchain to help sexual abuse victims

According to the Smashboard website, it is an “alternative social media network with special features for people of all genders fighting patriarchy.” The app aims to make the life of the sexual abuse victim easier by reducing the trauma associated with reporting the crime.

With the help of blockchain technology, Smashboard allows users to create private and encrypted ledgers of the crime they have suffered and store them securely online. For instance, Smashboard gives users the option to collect material “that can serve as a journal or as time-stamped evidence in an encrypted personal space.”

More importantly, the app allows sexual abuse victims to find legal counselors or lawyers, and interact with them privately. The victims can also connect with feminist journalists and can even leave an anonymous tip for them.

Smashboard offers all of these features with pseudo-anonymity. This means that sexual abuse victims won’t have to disclose their true names so that they can get comfortable with reporting the crime. This feature would be of great help to victims who go through undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and refrain from seeking help after suffering from sexual abuse.

Blockchain helps ensure anonymity on the platform, and also allows sexual abuse victims to chronicle the events of the crime through a time-stamp. This feature is meant to aid the victims when they report the crime to the authorities.

More features on the way

The Smashboard app plans to integrate more features in the future that will help sexual abuse victims come out and report the crime. For instance, it plans to come up with an insurance plan next year that it plans to provide to users when they are in crisis.

Smashboard hasn’t elaborated on how this insurance will exactly work now, but it might entail giving sexual abuse victims monetary support when fighting against their perpetrators. Smashboard also plans to offer a coin in the future, which it plans to call SMASH.

The app will also help victims with anonymity. | Photo by Laurene Becquart / AFP

As reported by Quartz India, the cryptocurrency will come into play to fund feminist campaigns as well as other grassroots-level initiatives from investors who might support the cause.

That initiative, however, will have to wait as the Indian government is not exactly cryptocurrency-friendly.

Another barrier for Smashboard right now is the app’s reach. The app is currently restricted to three languages – English, French, and Spanish. This means that the app cannot reach those sexual abuse victims who speak local languages in India. The company eventually plans to expand to the non-English speaking population in India, and once that happens, more victims of sexual abuse will be able to come out with their stories.

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.