In February 2016, three activists launched a website called Harasstracker independently from any organization. It is designed to report and map sexual harassment in Beirut, Lebanon. If the concept works, it is to be extended to all of the country.
Harasstracker was inspired partly by a similar initiative in Egypt, called Harassmap.
Harasstracker is an online reporting tool for victims and witnesses of harassment. Everyone can create a point on a map of Beirut to localize an incident of sexual harassment and describe it. To protect victims, the data provided is completely anonymous.
It is not only meant to be used for street harassment but also for harassment that happens in private spaces that are outside the home, like shops, work, or schools.
The reporting form gives an inclusive definition of sexual harassment, by categorizing different forms of harassment and defining them, for people who may not be familiar with the terms used. A box is available to give more details about the incident if wanted.
Harasstracker also gives information for potential victims on what to do when they are harassed, providing links to different NGOs and organizations that can be helpful. Lebanon doesnâ€™t have any laws against sexual harassment, but the creators of Harasstracker suggest that laws and legal processes could be included if the project was to be re-created in another country.
Finally, the project is about concretizing the phenomenon of sexual harassment by creating free available data. Everyone has access to the map created by the website, and the creators hope that it will help people realize that sexual harassment is a reality and happens everywhere. They also wish that the data created will be used and analyzed by researchers who work on the subject.
This online tool is an easy way to collect data on harassment, and is easily to recreate in other cities and countries. It creates awareness about what sexual harassment really is and gives information to victims about the laws that may exist regarding harassment. In addition, the fact that the reporting tool includes a box â€œotherâ€ to tick when describing the gender of both the victim and the harasser makes it inclusive and safe for people who donâ€™t conform to the gender binary.
The main flaw of this tool is that it doesnâ€™t reach to everyone. It assumes accessibility to the Internet, and a basic comprehension of online tools, which isnâ€™t obvious for everyone, especially the older populations. Moreover, Harasstracker is available both in Arabic and in English, but has yet to be translated to the languages of migrant workers, meaning some populations cannot be reached.
This is a tool meant for everybody, meaning researchers, activists and governments can use the data provided.