How Smashboard promises to be your digital ally to help smash patriarchy
More than a year has passed since the revival of the #MeToo movement in India. While the names of many perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence were called out over a period of months, justice still remains to be served. What more can be done to ensure women’s safety? How can we ensure that the conversation doesn’t die out and there are consistent efforts to ensure victims are heard?
A new social media platform to be launched on November 12 is all set to challenge rape culture and hopes to establish a feminist and all-inclusive online community for survivors and allies.
Smashboard, founded by Noopur Tiwari, is a unique app that connects people fighting patriarchy. Introducing the concept of a multitasking “digital ally”, it brings together people and professional experts to create a community of feminists that is both global and hyper-local.
In addition to social media features that offer encrypted end-to-end communication, posting and sharing content, it has special “digital solidarity hubs” designed for those facing sexist and sexual violence. The platform integrates B2B and B2C models and uses blockchain technology, and shared secret and best-of-breed encryption models to create a safer digital space.
The non-profit project is powered by the underlying principles of intersectionality, mutualisation of risk and gender justice. Building on the wave of activism that surfaced globally, following the #MeToo movement, Smashboard wants to utilise the latest tech advancements to aid and enable the fight against patriarchy.
The app offers features like A Digital Ally, Survivor Support & Community, Privacy & Agency, User Identification, Time-Stamped Evidence, Q&A, Mapping, News & Analysis, and Insurance.
Although the platform is available only in English presently, the team is already working on making it available in other Indian languages as well. The India launch will be followed by launches in Paris and Barcelona.
In an interview with HerStory, Smashboard Founder and President, Noopur Tiwari, talks about women’s safety, the app, and taking the movement forward.
HerStory: What prompted the launch of the app? Did it stem from some personal experience?
Noopur Tiwari: Yes. From personal experience and that of loved ones. We floated the idea in 2016 and when #MeToo happened we thought it was time to turn it into something concrete because it was much needed.
HS: Women's safety remains the top concern in India today? How do you plan to address this with your app?
NT: Women are not like precious objects or creatures who can be “kept” safely. Let’s not forget that some women can’t even be safe in their bedrooms. So our app works at a different level.
The greatest threat to women is patriarchy. That’s where we need to focus - on smashing the patriarchy.
HS: When you say you want to smash the patriarchy, what exactly do you have in mind?
NT: Some of us are smashing patriarchy every day - in our homes, in our relationships, and in our workplaces. And it is real labour. It’s also quite messy and risky. If we can use apps to make all kinds of tasks easier - we can also use technology to make the messy and risky job of fighting patriarchy easier.
That basically means empowering survivors, amplifying feminist voices, and using tech to make certain things easier - such as accessing the right kind of support, whether legal or mental health related. It also means making sure those fighting patriarchal violence stay informed and connected.
Unlike on other platforms, we won’t ban people for speaking out against misogyny. There will be zero tolerance for rape threats. People will also be able to connect with a community of survivors to ask questions or find allies and experts. We will roll out evidence collection, journaling, and other features.
HS: Who is your target audience, and what change do you expect with the launch of this app?
NT: Our principles are that of intersectional feminism - so to begin with women, survivors (of any gender), LGBTQ people, and those of marginalised communities will understand best why this platform will be useful. But the app is for people of all genders.
Men can also be survivors or pro-feminist. We are creating a space with certain values. And we know that there are enough people out there who want this. More than 162 million women use smartphones in India.
And if one in three women face violence in their lifetime, you do the math; we have to make the app useful for all of them.
HS: Do you plan to partner with individuals/organisations to carry this forward?
NT: Ours is a digital space, not a movement. The movement or movements will come from people. We will only give them digital streets in which to protest and tech tools to make their lives easier.
That’s why we call Smashboard “your digital ally to smash patriarchy”.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)