Anti-GBV app given thumbs up for its potential to help women and children

Robert Bentele during the launch Eyerus - an app aimed at ending gender-based violence.
Robert Bentele during the launch Eyerus - an app aimed at ending gender-based violence.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Activists and government have given their support to an app that is being seen as a proactive step to help decrease gender based violence (GBV) in our society.

The app, Eyerus, allows a person in danger to record evidence of violence that will immediately be stored on a cloud. This evidence can then be shared with law enforcement when a case is opened even if the victim’s phone is lost or stolen. It also allows for private security to be dispatched to where the victim is located.

Rosie Motene a gender-based violence activist said the app will help communities that are often faced with violence.

“I’m excited about the data protection of this app as we know evidence is one of the key issues when reporting crimes and that dockets and information go missing. The fact that this can be escalated above the SAPS especially in cases where the case is high profile or politically affiliated, we know that dockets go missing and tampered with. [This will also help] with the rates of deaths in the LGBTI community and intimate partner violence,” said Motene.

Rosie Motene at the launch Eyerus - an app aimed at ending gender-based violence.
Rosie Motene at the launch Eyerus - an app aimed at ending gender-based violence.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Co-founder of the app Rob Bentele said the app has a number of danger stages that can be controlled by the users.

The first stage is green alert mode which means the user is safe and sound.

The second stage is amber alert mode which allows you to audio record what is happening around you and activate your live location tracking. This is immediately stored on a cloud.

The third stage is red alert mode which activates live video recording which is shared with your pre-assigned guardians and uploaded on a cloud while also sharing your location with them while the fourth level is blue alert mode which dispatches private security to your location in urban areas of all nine provinces.

“We are not even going to say we are experienced about GBV. Which is why we are partnering with a number of NGOs,” said Bentele.

These NGOs will allow for private security to take victims who are not safe at home to their locations.

“There is no age restriction on Eyerus because there is no age restriction on violence,” said Bentele.

The app is free but will require a R59 fee monthly if a user wants to access the private security option. Bentele said a family option is also available.

He said the founders are also working on a zero rate data usage option for those who do not have access to the network.

Legal advisor for the app Lebo Hadebe said the evidence will be admissible in court.

“The evidence is admissible as it is recorded for the public interest and it was gathered for law purpose. However, the app must be used for relevant purposes and the info will only be released for criminal/lawful purposes, you will not be able to log in and see the evidence yourself,” she said.

Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini was also in attendance and shared his support as a patron of the app.

“I want to pledge not only my support but also my encouragement to them and also to give advice on where we stand as traditional leadership to what they are doing for us as a country,” he said.

Minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu said she supports the initiative.

“I wish to support and appreciate what it has to offer in the fight against gender based violence. We should not be proud that this is still a conversation that we have to have,” she said.

Eyerus will officially be available on February 3 2021.

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