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Look Where No One Else Wants To

It is understood that low-income communities attract more violence and criminal activity due to the lack of city maintenance and resources available however, safety is an issue problematic in societies of all extremes; day-cares, wealthy and middle class communities, college campuses, the White House, and even the most publicly detested--gangs and prisons.

Photo of An Old Friend
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It may seem atypical but a good and "out of the box" place to start could be by pursuing social groups (i.e. ex-cons, recovering drug addicts, etc.) who have had direct experience developing extreme safety methods to sustain their way of life and gurantee survival in rough and poverty areas. I think this backdoor approach could have the potential to uncover and pin-point areas of safety-weakness in today's urbanized, poverty areas.

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great side-ways thinking, Katie! And we hope that folks might be inspired by your post to reach out locally to see who they might interview to provide in-person insight on the issues you've raised. They can check out our Interview Toolkit here: http://ideo.pn/ws-ask We're excited to see where this exploration will lead...

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Photo of An Old Friend

Thank you Meena. I have been keeping my ears open and looking for a connection in hopes I can have a discussion and ask some questions that could benefit the women and girls being targeted in these poverty areas. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to get a discussion group together at a prison with willing inmates who can share their experiences and provide insight, informing us about specific looks or behaviors that are deemed as weaknesses in victims-- things that may not be obvious to us. It is a touchy topic however, I do think there are things to be gained from a discussion like this that can be used to educate the public and help lessen the chances of an attack.

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Photo of An Old Friend

For anyone that reads my contribution, and also my above comment expanding on the idea of questioning perpetrators of rape crimes for inside information behind their actions against women, here is an article I just came across that expands upon and provides further insight behind my thinking.

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/understanding-the-psychology-of-gang-rape/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

A snippet from the article:

"You have to look at why groups of men are doing this. If the Delhi government asked me what to do, I’d say, “Someone has to start talking to these men, or men like these men, and finding out why they view women as targets.” Why do they feel entitled to? What is the basis for their hatred?" - Dr. David Lisak

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Great insights Katie!

Yesterday, we had a class with my students (at NYU) where we discussed where to go and look for insights for this challenge and ex-convicts came up as a group to study: first, to understand why they did what they did, in particular if they were involved in violence with women, but also to understand safety issues in jails which are from what we read / heard oftentimes very difficult.
As you said, the issue is being able to contact this kind of population. We are exploring contacts. We'll keep you posted.

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Photo of Tawei Joseph Lin

It would be interesting to find out what cause this behavior by Indian convicts, and compare the outcomes to academic research conducted by researchers in other countries. I have a hunch that the gender inequality and inadequate social safety net may be partial causes to rape crimes in India.

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Photo of An Old Friend

Exactly my thoughts! Along with the idea of pursuing safety research within prisons, I also thought value could be seen from identifying safety strategies within gangs and other similar social circles that often spend their time in public areas and/or where safety and poverty is generally a huge issue. From what I have heard, these groups also have completely different strategies and safety concerns to address.

Maybe along with asking inmates about their experiences with safety and their safety tactics inside the prison, we could also discuss how it differentiates or relates to their safety strategies from their social network outside the prison. If affiliated with a group that uses safety as a key priority in daily survival, they might be able to identify issues that haven't yet crossed our minds!

Thank you for the response! I am very excited to hear what you come up with. As I said, my ears are open for opportunities as well however, none have been surfacing thus far.