What would it mean to document instances of sexual violence in real time, as these assaults are unfolding? And what would it mean to do this for an area of the world that is currently restricted to outsiders, including journalists and human rights workers?
That’s exactly what the organizers of Women Under Siege Syria are asking, and are attempting to answer with their groundbreaking crowd-mapping initiative at WomenUnderSiegeSyria.crowdmap.com. They’re collecting the personal experiences and secondhand reports of the sexualized violence taking place in Syria as the year-long protests for democratic reform rage on. And they’re using the software Ushahidi — named after the Swahili word for “testimony” — to put these reports on a map, so that the crisis can become visual and real for audiences all over the world.