If the horrific events of December 16, 2012 — when Nirbhaya was brutally raped — has taught us anything, it is that in this age, the world isn’t a safe place for women. But in Bengaluru, a student-teacher duo from IFIM Business School, were keen to change the situation and together they launched a helpline for women called SAFE - Students Against Female Exploitation.
An initiative that is completely student-run and volunteer-driven, SAFE has been currently employed in Electronic City, Bengaluru.
Any woman who feels unsafe can quickly dial the helpline’s number and within minutes, students from the SAFE committee will reach out to help. What began in 2013 as just a helpline, they now plan to launch a website and an app in March, prior to International Women’s Day.
Professor Rajarshi Chakraborty from IFIM, who founded the platform along with a student, Tauqir Eqbal, now aims to extend SAFE’s reach to more areas in Bengaluru.
“Bengaluru is fast changing. It is turning unsafe by the day, as recently demonstrated by the New Year’s Eve event. We are trying our best to curb the situation,” he says. So far, they have received 21 calls and students were prompt to help. While most of the issues were resolved quickly, one incident still disturbs Professor Chakraborty. “Once, a former Infosys employee reached out, tired of her husband’s assaults. The woman and her six-year-old daughter had cigarette burns all over their bodies.
She wasn’t able to file for a divorce as her husband was an influential man,” he narrates. But SAFE helped her get in touch with the right authorities and finally, she managed to get a divorce. Today, she lives happily with her daughter.
The journey has been smooth so far, aside from a few warnings by the local police. “They aren’t ready to accept another helpline when 100 still exists. But, the difference is, the response is quicker with SAFE,” says Professor Chakraborty. Talks with other colleges to form student committees are in the works as well.
Reach Out: 9611216862 - Helpline number