– What is Back Up in one simple sentence?
Back Up is a totally secure mobile application that makes it possible to report war rape victims, coordinate the professionals involved in this issue, and collect reliable data.
– Who is this application for?
Back Up is aimed at a very wide audience. It can obviously be used by victims to report themselves. They may be women, but they may also be men and children. It is also designed for people close to the victim, their family and friends, as well as for grassroots activists and journalists who may witness rape being committed. Finally, it is aimed at the various professionals working on this issue: doctors, psychologists, lawyers, prosecutors, sociologists, political decision-makers, police forces, etc…
– What are Back Up target countries?
On the one hand, Back Up is intended to be a tool that can be used in very diverse situations. We want to distribute it in all conflict zones where sexual violence is used as a weapon. There is no particular framework at this level. At present, our pilot studies will cover CAR, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Myanmar. But we want to extend the use of this tool to as wide a framework as possible.
On the other hand, Back Up could be used by people outside their country, in refugee camps. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 people have been raped on the migration route. We therefore want this tool to be accessible to these people in these camps, so that they too can report themselves and access adapted services.
– Back Up is a mobile application. But do the victims have suitable phones?
This question is a recurring one when we talk about Back Up. Thanks to the experience of WWoW members in the field, we have found that in many countries, even in very remote areas, most people have a telephone. In refugee populations in camps, for example, the telephone remains a crucial tool that allows everyone to stay in touch and to find out what is going on around them. So we know that our tool will be available to everyone, even in remote areas. In addition, we are currently working on a version of Back Up that can be consulted on other devices (computer, tablet) and on older model phones.
– Is Back Up a paying app?
Back Up is completely free. We want it to be accessible to all victims without price restrictions.
– How do you ensure the security of the reports issued on Back Up?
The safety of victims is our number one priority. We want to ensure that they can report themselves and access appropriate services; yet they must be able to do so safely and without fear. Back Up is actually a mobile website: this means that the victim can choose not to have the tool icon appear on their mobile. In addition, once the report is sent, all the information disappears from the victim’s mobile. So no trace. On our side, everything is recorded on a Back Office that uses Block Chain technology. This is technology that encrypts information and therefore makes it impossible to read by any user who does not have our access codes. Thus, no trace is left on the victim’s mobile, and all information is recorded by our teams.
– What if a victim can’t or won’t answer a question?
The first form proposed is very brief and only asks for basic information about the victim (date and place of the assault, possible injuries, age…). In any event, the victim may “skip” a question that they might not wish to answer. We do not want this form to block a victim, and boxes do not have to be completed.
– What if a victim is unable to report?
This is a situation that can indeed occur. A victim may be too physically injured or psychologically traumatized to alert us to their situation. That is why the report can be issued by a third party, a relative, or an activist witnessing the raping. When opening the application, the form gives the user the choice to indicate whether they are a victim, a close relative or a witness to the crime.
– What can you do for illiterate people who would like to report themselves?
We are currently working on a version that would include a form that would help a person who cannot read or write to report themselves. This will be an adapted version, which would use numerous images and visuals to make it possible for the victim to issue a report.
– But how will the victims know about the existence of Back Up?
There is a lot of work to be done in the field to raise awareness and distribute Back Up. That’s our next step! We wish to distribute the tool in the field, in 5 pilot countries to start (CAR, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar). We will form teams on the ground who will themselves be able to raise awareness and diffuse the tool in the various regions of the countries concerned.
We are working on kits for using and handling Back Up that we can distribute to as many people as possible.
– Could Back Up have other uses?
The Back Up tool could well be used for other purposes. The reporting function could be used for other types of crimes and would enable victims to be put in touch with adapted services in a rapid manner (chemical attacks, bombardments, torture, etc.). It would then make it possible for evidence to be gathered if court cases were subsequently opened. It could also concern domestic violence, for example. In the future, we plan to distribute this tool in France to report women and men who are victims of domestic, conjugal and sexual violence.
– How can we help you?
We are at a turning point. We have a first version of Back Up, usable and operational. We now want to launch it and distribute it in the field via pilot studies in 5 countries (CAR, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar). Depending on how we use the tool and the feedback we get, we can improve it to make it more accessible and efficient.
That’s where we need your help! Launching the tool in the field, distributing it, training teams and working on the development of the tool requires funds. Our team currently works totally on a voluntary basis. This tool could be revolutionary and have a direct impact on local populations.