Hello, my name is Shruti Kapoor. I am the founder of Sayfty; a startup that helps women in India protect themselves against violence and abuse with the help of personal safety products, self-defense training & awareness.
The horrific gang-rape of a physiotherapy student in December 2012 in New Delhi, India shook me to the core. The brutality of the incident opened my eyes to the fact that India indeed is unsafe for women. While looking for information relating to women’s safety, I came upon a disturbing fact: In India, a woman is raped every 20 minutes.
In 2011, India was voted the fourth most dangerous country for women according to a global poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Over 24,000 rapes and 220,000 cases of molestation and abuse were reported, but experts believe the number of unreported cases is much higher.
For the average Indian woman, sexual abuse and harassment are also a part of her daily routine. From being leered at, to being groped, verbally abused and even masturbated on, women in India are at a constant threat of being sexually assaulted. Crowded streets, buses, trains and other public spaces are the most common locations for such assaults. Such public sexual harassment is colloquially called ‘eve teasing’ and has become so institutionalized in Indian society that more often than not, women are advised to ignore it. Most Indians don’t even view such behavior as abuse, but rather as a pesky reality of life in India.
I want to help and provide women in India the same sense of security I feel when I walk the streets of New York City. I feel free and I feel safe. A vast majority of women in India feel neither! I want to help by creating awareness. I want to help by equipping every woman in India with personal safety tools that are portable, effective, safe and easy to use. Tools like pepper spray that can be effective in warding off danger.
To do so, I need your help. These products are not ‘THE’ solution but they are “A” solution. A solution, that is quick, effective and immediate. The laws in India will change when they change and the government will take its time to fix things, but we cannot and must not wait. The presence of a personal safety tool along with appropriate mental and physical training will help these women become more aware and alert of their surroundings. Support me in this mission because an “alert”, “equipped” and an “educated” mind will lead to a safer body!
What We Need & What You Get
While personal safety items such as pepper spray and stun guns are common knowledge in countries like the United States, they are largely unheard of in India. Despite being legal, pepper spray is not readily available in most parts of the country. In cases where people are aware of its presence, they do not know where to buy it.
We at Sayfty wish to provide women in India with such items, so they can feel protected and empowered as they go about their daily activities.
Our aim is to equip 1800 women with a can of Pepper Spray each in Delhi & Mumbai. We will give 200 women in India access to self-defense classes. We have tied up with two companies (Justice for Women & Sportz 360 India Pvt. Ltd.) in Mumbai and Delhi that will provide 15 hours of self-defense training per woman.
To achieve our goal we need $25,000 in total
1 can of pepper spray will cost US $10
15 hrs of self-defense classes will cost US $35 per person
1800 women * 1 can ($10) = $18000
200 women * 1 self defense class ($35) = $7000
Total = $25,000
100% of money raised will go towards supplies, education and marketing around the issue of violence against women.
Why carry personal safety products
From April – July 2013, we interviewed 1200 respondents about how safe they felt in India. Over half admitted that they had been sexually assaulted/harassed at least once. Most respondents admitted that they would like to carry personal safety products.
A detailed report of our findings is available here.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that you might not be able to help us monetarily. Don’t worry there are other ways in which you can make this project successful.
- Contribute any amount to the campaign before January 31.
- Help us by promoting our campaign. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and emails to spread the word about our campaign.
- Volunteer for us. For more details check out our website.
We have repeatedly been asked, “What if attackers get a hold of pepper spray and use it to hurt victims?”
First of all, we are not simply handing cans of pepper spray to women and asking them to do with it as they please. We are educating them about usage, spreading awareness and via classes, giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. These are all resources that they do not currently have.
We are happy to address any concerns you may have via email.