Updated: Oct 13
“I don’t relax until I reach my destination”. “There was no one around, it was dark, he was a lot bigger than me and walked pretty close to me despite social distancing. I was really scared for my own safety”. “I tend to phone my boyfriend, or a friend, and have them chat to me on any stretch of dark road”. “Having my hand on my phone in my pocket feels like a bit of security”.
These are some of the comments women shared on social media about their fears of walking alone at night. There have been hundreds of personal stories from women discussing how they are constrained by safety concerns when walking around after dark. According to research by Jamie Ballard, a data journalist, 59% of women who ever walk down an alley alone always or often feel unsafe doing so. Walking alone at night, even in a relatively busy city centre, is something that most women are afraid of.
Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology and the law at Northwestern University conducted a study of 100 women’s and men’s experiences with offensive harassment in the California San Francisco Bay Area. She found that 100 percent of the 54 women she asked had been the target of offensive or sexually-suggestive remarks at least occasionally at night. Overall in the US 46% of women are afraid of walking alone at night.
A research conducted by Rory Fitzgerald from the University of London shows the difference between countries in Europe and fear between genders. women remain between 2.5 and 5.7 times more likely to feel unsafe than men in almost all countries. The survey shows just how different the experiences of men and women are when it comes to the fundamental freedom of being able to walk alone at night.
A survey conducted last January by the Roshnik Institute shows that 90% of women in Israel are afraid to walk alone on the street at night, and about 50% of them choose to extend the route using a route where they feel safer. In Israel, there is a Whatsapp group for women that can contact others when they feel unsafe and want someone to talk with while walking.
As both of us are international students we also feel much more fear in a country we are not familiar with. Often, women find themselves after a night out saying to a friend, text me when you get home or call me and I will walk with you. When we learned about the benefits of voice recognition software we thought about trying to combine this technique with the need of women around the world.
Walk me home call is a bot that you can call whenever you want. We had a few points that was important for us to add:
Location - we want to know where is the person is located
Time frame - how much time do we have until the destination
Emergency - a detective intent that could capture emergency situations
Once we thought about the scenario of us walking alone all the conversation came very naturally. We wanted to create a nice call that will have a sense of a bot friend that uses words such as “beauty”. We started by designing our DialogFlow intents and entities and then we used the visual studio code to sync with a code that will have a range of emotional stories from the caller. Sad stories will be under (-2) and above will be happier, by this score you will get the bot answer about the story you shared.
At the end we want a nice womanly voice, a voice that will reminded the user her girlfriend/ mom/ sister
Unfortunately, we didn’t figure out yet how we can synchronize the call with 911, we imagine this needs to be somehow agreed with the authorities too. As we want this to be an actual call people can use, we want to figure this out in the future so it could be useful in emergency situations. In case of danger we thought about a few entities that we can add that will warn the bot and then contact with emergency authorization in that specific area.
Every woman that we shared our project with identified with these scenarios. We heard multiple stories about how some of them didn't have anyone to call to and how they were scared. For that reason, we hope that this project will give a solution for all those who need someone to talk with no matter where they are and what time it is.
This is the result: