Harassed on the Beach? There’s an App for That

In World

Women in one French resort community are sick of being harassed while getting some rays on the beach—and now, there’s an app to help them fend off such harassment. Time Out reports that the Safer Plage (Safer Beach) app has been downloaded more than 1,300 times since it was launched in a handful of spots across the city of Marseille, sending help to beachgoers who request it via the app. Users of the app can choose one of three escalating options: “I’m being bothered,” “I’m being harassed,” and “I’m in danger,” at which point an alert is sent to a pair of beach “mediators.”

After receiving the alert, the mediators are able to track where the incident is happening via geolocation, per TheMayor.eu. Once on the scene, one mediator will attend to the app user who sent out the alert, while the other will deal with the harasser. The 16 mediators currently working Marseille’s beaches have been trained to deal with situations “ranging from excessive flirtation to domestic violence,” per NPR. The app’s goal isn’t necessarily to arrest a bunch of obnoxious men, but rather “to shame and expose the harasser,” per TheMayor.eu, which will then hopefully help tamp down on such incidents overall.

“The beach can be a very vulnerable place, especially for women,” Justine Noel of Orane, the nonprofit that developed the app, tells NPR. “The goal of the app is to help them defend themselves a bit more easily.” The need for such a tool became clear after a recent YouGov poll in which it was found that almost 40% of young women ages 18 to 34 reported being harassed on the beach. In France, those found guilty of sexual harassment can see up to two years behind bars and a $32,000 fine. (Read more harassment stories.)

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