Leveraging Community Beacons
A personal story which highlights the role and value of community beacons.
I was recently out with a friend in Wellington, New Zealand which I feel very lucky is generally a safe place to live. We were walking back to my car after dinner in town, through a residential neighbourhood at the edge of the city. Suddenly we were approached by a guy who was acting super shifty. We let him know we wanted him to back off and he kept coming at us.
Panicked, we tore off back down the road to the edge of town where I knew there was a taxi stand. We jumped in a cab and I told the driver what happened. She was fine about driving us one block up the road to my car and waiting to make sure we got into it safely. She was very calming and mentioned that taxi drivers here get training to help support people they come across who have faced imminent danger or attack. She also contacted the police to let them know that there was a troublesome guy lurking in the area.
This was a very minor incident compared to the full scope of what a woman might be confronted by in an urban environment – especially at night. But I was grateful to be able to leverage our local taxi network to get us to safety – and to find out that they actually received training for this.
Thinking about our current challenge context:
How might we leverage community beacons in low-income urban areas? (stall holders, rickshaw drivers, etc) How might we help those community beacons better understand the issues around women's safety and ways in which they might provide support for those under threat? How might we inspire them to enrich the communities they serve through their responsible support?