Anamika - A Peer to Peer Support System for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Harassment
The issue of mental health is of grave importance in India. Creating awareness about mental health issues amongst the youth is the need of the hour. During our interactions with women in some women-only workshops, we observed that the effect of gender-based violence on women's mental health often gets neglected with the lack of effective support systems being a major contributing factor.
The key problems we found from these which we are trying to solve are :
- Lack of importance given to the mental health and wellbeing of sexual harassment survivors
- Lack of a supportive community for survivors of sexual harassment
- The severe social stigma surrounding sexual harassment that prevents women from opening up about their experiences
- Lack of awareness about laws regarding sexual harassment and women's rights among a significant proportion of the population.
Our idea is to develop an online, anonymous, peer-to-peer support system for female survivors of sexual abuse and harassment titled "Anamika"(The Nameless One).
The service will be offered free of charge to women who seek help with regards to sexual abuse or harassment. They can choose to access the service through a virtual platform, such as a custom app, email or a third-party messaging service like Whatsapp. They are then put in touch with one of our volunteers anonymously following which they can have a conversation, with both the volunteer and the user unaware of the other's identity. The conversations could range from just talking about their emotions to queries on how they can seek help, knowledge of legal avenues etc.,
The volunteers will accordingly be trained on mental health, gender sensitization and topics related to sexual harassment with special emphasis on women’s issues. The key aim for "Anamika" is to provide female survivors access to non-judgmental safe spaces via peer to peer support systems where their mental health and well-being are also addressed.
It is primarily focused on offering three core features effectively:
2)Reliable Peer-to-Peer Support
3)Ease of Use
We would love to see someone who has accessed “Anamika”, be able to heal from the emotional scars inflicted by sexual harassment and/or gain sufficient knowledge and support to seek recourse through legal means. We hope that they reach a state of emotional and mental well-being, with the aid of professional mental health support where required. We aim to provide women and girls who have gone through sexual harassment with a safe space and a medium of communication with a trusted and reliable listener. We at no point aim to replace professional mental health care, but rather complement the same with peer to peer support groups.
We intend to ensure that our service delivers on the above promise by closely tracking a few metrics.
The primary metric to track the effectiveness of the initiative would be the number of users who access "Anamika" which we intend to reach 10,000 people
Feedback collected from them as to how helpful they found their conversations with our volunteers to be
The average time taken to respond to a user would also be an important metric to track how well we are allocating volunteers.
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