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Women who have been leered at, stalked or molested, and have no idea what to do next will soon get all necessary information on getting the right care, support and legal tools at the convenience of a click. SheSays.in, a one-stop informative online platform and help centre addressing legal and procedural measures to fight sexual abuse, will be launched on May 20 by a 24-year-old law student.
On this first-of-its-kind website, sexual abuse survivors will be able to first identify the exact kind of abuse — stalking, outraging modesty, molestation or rape —they face along with the sections of law applicable to each. According to founder Trish Shetty, the website will have a checklist on which hospitals one should go to, how to file an FIR, which police station to go to and what are a woman’s rights.
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“Go online and type ‘I have been abused, what should I do?’ After a series of horrifying rape stories, you will get websites with generic information and helpline numbers, but there is no website that gives a woman specific steps and guidance. There are a lot of NGOs helping such women, but if a woman wants to empower herself, she struggles to find the correct information. Here is where SheSays.in will help her. We break down the system for survivors,” says Shetty.
Shetty has sought help from advocates, research teams and policemen to put together the website.
“Many people cannot access good lawyers or do not want to disclose their identity. On this website, they can seek good, reliable information. In many cases, offences take place within the four walls of the house and survivors do not want to lodge complaints, but with Internet access can seek consultation so this website helps create awareness among women,” said advocate Satish Maneshinde.
Concurrently, Shetty will launch a social media campaign to highlight sexually inappropriate remarks because she believes they are the gateway to more aggressive sexual behaviour. “As Nazi references are almost banned, so should such sexually inappropriate remarks. And the shame has to be transferred from the survivor to the perpetrator and through SheSays, we need to change the very attitude that gives birth to the culture of abuse,” says Shetty.
Phase 2 of SheSays.in will involve identifying safe zones across the city in hotels and work places, or colleges, where survivors can go to find immediate guidance on ground. Phase 3 would have a directory of lawyers, gynaecologists and enrol case workers on the website to help survivors online.
“I have been abused and very few women can confidently say they haven’t been abused in some form. This tolerance that we have developed to these crimes has to stop. I did not have access to information in my time, but I want to change that now for other women,” says Shetty who has graduated in psychology and political science from Jai Hind College.