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The BACK-UP, the mobile application for victims of sexual violence in War

credit to We Are Not Weapons Of War

Eliminating sexual violence in conflict, fighting against impunity and restoring the power of action to victims … these are the main objectives of the NGO “We are not weapons of War (WWoW)”. The organization was created in 2014 at the instigation of Céline Bardet, an international lawyer specializing in war crimes.  The NGO has launched in early 2019  the pilot phase of the “Back Up”, a technological tool for alerting and assisting victims of war rape around the world. Sarah Ripoche, jurist and director of WWoW joined the organization as soon as it was launched. She is now in charge of developing the application.

credit photo: We are not weapons of war

Can you explain how the “Back up” application works?

It is a tool designed to answer three major issues of war rape: the difficulties that victims or witnesses have to report violence and access to care, the lack of coordination between professionals and the lack of reliable data. on the phenomenon. The application will allow the user whether it is a victim or a third party to report abuses. The information will be retrieved and stored on a protected server. The next step is to identify the necessary service and connect it to the local network. All information retrieved will be analyzed, sorted. Some may be retained and authenticated as elements for the conduct of trials.

Beforehand, what work has been done?

Céline Bardet is an international lawyer specializing in war crimes. She spent more than fifteen years in the field. She was able to see the gaps and needs. His thinking was built by talking with victims, activists, other lawyers or journalists. Céline Bardet wanted to know how to fill these gaps? How to help a victim thousands of miles away? How to provide care to a victim who does not necessarily want to see a doctor or move? She wondered what solutions could be brought to that: to act globally thanks to new technologies and to have a local impact. The BACK UP is that, a global solution with local impact.


How do you manage to prevent potential victims of the existence of this tool?

Everyone may not have a smartphone, but there is always at least one in the community or family. We try to develop the application on as many platforms as possible, that is to say not only on Samsung or iPhone but also on Nokia type 3310. We identified 4 pilot countries where we would like to show the prototype. We would like to start testing it, put it in the hands of victims or former victims and also people who work there. We want to see what works and what does not work. Our biggest challenge is the language barrier. Some people cannot read so we try to work with icons. It’s a big job of communication and awareness. We want to make real campaigns with NGOs in the field while communicating with the institutions on-site to tell them that the tool exists.

How to intervene with the victims?

A real local network already exists in partnership with other NGOs. We want to reverse the pattern of thought. We do not want to say to the person: “Thank you, we have your report, you have to see this or that person”. We want more to accompany them by saying: “We know doctors and we know that there is legal permanence, you can go.” It is to provide all these services so that the person making the report knows that they exist. The victim can be heard when she feels like it and feels ready. We do not want to impose a process. We must be ready and available to the needs of the victims.

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