Social media has already proven its value as an effective means of communication that can fuel social change. Scientists supported by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) are now studying how this fast-growing phenomenon can help better understand — and help — women who are stalked, harassed, or sexually assaulted.

The Citizen Lab and the IDRC are hosting an event from 10am-12pm on Tuesday, 5 February 2013 titled, HarassMap : Social Mapping Sexual Harassment and Violence in Egypt. The event will take place at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place in Toronto, Canada.  Rebecca T. Chiao, the Co-Founder and Director of HarassMap, will be speaking.

The HarassMap project, based in Egypt, encourages victims and witnesses to anonymously report sexual harassment as soon as it happens, using a simple text message, which is plotted on a map to pinpoint “hot spots” where incidents occur. Such empowering technologies could overcome many of the barriers to data collection in certain countries: the reluctance of women to report or discuss such crimes; a lack of resources for data collection; and bureaucratic procedures for conducting large-scale and/or sensitive research.

About Rebecca Chiao

Rebecca T. Chiao received her MA in International Development and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a certificate in Strategic Frameworks for NGOs from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and her BA in Politics and Pre-Medicine from New York University. In addition to directing HarassMap, she currently serves as Development and Communications Consultant to INJAZ Egypt. She has lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt since 2004, where at the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, she served as Director of International Relations and founded and managed their highly successful Campaign Against Sexual Harassment. She also served on the UN Development Assistance Framework M&E Task Force, as Development Officer at Ashoka Arab World and as pro-bono consultant to a number of Egyptian organizations.

The event is open to the public. Click here to register today.