Technology against gender violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was commemorated on the 25th of November, as 56 years have passed since the chauvinist murder of the three Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic. In spite of the great advances that the world has experienced in this half of the century, attacks and murders against women continue being committed on a daily basis and in all countries, developed or not.

Someone has referred to this problem as a kind of silent terrorism, which does not raise flags but which is as lethal as any bloodthirsty cause that discriminates and kills for a belief. This problem affects everyone and no simple solution can be found. However, it is necessary to deal with it and I think of the ways that science and technology could contribute to protecting women who are at risk of becoming victims of violence.

As a researcher, I have had the opportunity to work on some projects aimed at the monitoring and surveillance of people, through the GPS systems, Bluetooth and algorithms based on neural networks. They allow to obtain information about potentially dangerous individuals, especially abusers.

For example, the Guardian project which we had developed at BISITE in collaboration with Nebusens and Oesia Groups, uses environmental intelligence through technologies such as A-GPS, GPRS and ZigBee. These technologies are used to locate and track people and send a warning signal if necessary. The behaviour of abusers is carefully studied and we try to identify the behaviours that reveal their intentions of approaching a victim. In such battle, opponents live and relate with the society in an apparently normal way until they are discovered. We must put our effort into educating, raising awareness and preventing. If this issue can be helped by science and technology, then the work us researchers do, goes beyond what we had done in universities, companies and at research centres and it means that everything else will have been worth it.

Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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