A study from the World Health Organization has shown that 60,000 women and children are victims of domestic violence in South Africa. About 50% of women reported emotional and verbal abuse through a survey. The same survey showed that 45.9% of all the women in violent relationships reported an injury and about 59% of women reported experiencing domestic violence at least once.
Different cases of domestic violence have sprung up over the years and even with the social awareness — very little has been done as regards curbing it. The president of South Africa, President Ramaphosa even said that the violence against women and children has reached epidemic proportions.
Victims of domestic violence often times find it discouraging to report their experiences to the appropriate authorities for fear of embarrassment, shame and societal judgement. AI Smart Companion— rAInbow, a chatbot that provides accessible support for victims of domestic violence has however taken a giant step in curbing domestic violence in South Africa.
Launched in 2018 and built by AI for Good, in partnership with the Soul City Institute for Social Justice and the Sage Foundation, rAInbow has recently gained a UN recognition through a UNESCO Netexplo Award. The award was accepted by Kriti Sharma, VP of AI at Sage and Founder of AI for Good, at the Netexplo Innovation Forum 2019 hosted at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The VP commented that they are thrilled to receive the award as it validates that technology can be used to solve social challenges like domestic violence.
rAInbow as a smart companion grants people access to a chat robot over Facebook Messenger. The chatbot allows victims of domestic violence to access information that will optimize awareness about their rights, support options and key areas to find help in simple language. rAInbow has five common themes; infidelity, alcohol and substance abuse, digital abuse, verbal abuse and threats and understanding the signs.
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