Problem

Sexual harassment is detrimental to society and academic institutions in particular. People in positions of power sometimes abuse their authority and engage in sexual harassment without having to face the proper consequences. This problem is more widespread than most people think. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 58% of female faculty and staff in academia of all disciplines experience sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a sensitive but important topic, and its presence in academia is often hidden due to fear of reporting authoritative figures.

Solution

Help 4 Harassment (H4H) is a solution to help the victims of sexual assault report their experiences, discover an online support network, and explore additional resources from other websites. Our site will identify papers written by professors who have been reported for sexual harassment. Instead of allowing users to cite those papers, H4H would redirect readers to similar articles written by non-offenders. Additionally, the 3D maps provided by HERE.com serve a dual purpose: tracking the locations of incidents based on previous data from our reporting form along with monitoring the whereabouts of our users with their consent. Displaying information about the locations of previous altercations on heat maps will alert users to avoid dangerous areas; in addition, cautious individuals can choose to broadcast their location to a list of contacts that they approve of (family, friends, law enforcement, etc). We incorporated a positioning algorithm to determine the shortest and safest path that avoids the locations of past instances of sexual harassment.

How we built it

We used HTML and CSS to construct the website and embed the reporting form and external websites, forum submissions, and design features. Python and Selenium were used to develop the backend and detect which articles were written by professors who were accused of sexual harassment.

Challenges we ran into

It was difficult to link the front end and the back end, especially since they were written in different languages and on different computers. Transferring the HTML files into a public domain website was a difficult process as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We designed a website that is functional and interactive, and it has great potential to make profound societal impact. There is a plethora of opportunity to build on this project, and hopefully, in the future, we can scale it up and help more people dealing with this issue.

What we learned

We gained a great deal of experience in website development in the front end and the back end. Throughout the design process, we were able to shift from ideation and brainstorming to creating a prototype and generating a deliverable after multiple iterations. Teamwork and collaboration were also key elements of our successful experience in this hackathon.

Future Steps

Given more time, we would create a forum to host positive discussions about sexual harassment. Additionally, we considered offering a virtual mentoring system for victims of sexual harassment. In the future, we would like to extend the H4H research paper censoring system to Google Scholar and other academic databases. Also, HERE.com would be useful for tracking the locations of victims (with their consent) so that they can receive immediate help from family and trusted individuals. HERE.com's intricate 3D maps are effective at showing the bystander the exact location of the act of sexual harassment.

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