If you ask a group of 100 women, how many of them have been sexually abused, all of the 100 would answer in the affirmative. The issue of sexual harassment has become so prevalent that it has become a major cause of concern right now.
According to a survey done by an English daily, out of the number of women who are harassed, only five per cent of the victims lodge a formal complaint with the police. Understanding the need to combat such issues, The International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), a Chennai-based NGO has come up with an initiative – Community Led Action Programme by Police (CLAPP) – to curb harassment cases in Hyderabad and Chennai.
Their project partners in Hyderabad include a SHE Team with eight police personnel and 10 students from St Mary’s College, Yousufguda, who form CLAPP team.
They are supported by US Consulate General in both the cities. PCVC has been predominantly working towards helping women in distress since 2001 and also has a 24 hour helpline and counselling centre for them in Chennai. CLAAP is one of their many initiatives.
“The year-long pilot project, which will be spearheaded by the CLAAP team, aims at developing a community policing model where we have brought together youth and police who will together solve problems pertaining to sexual harassment in public spaces,” shares Rashmi Singh, project guide.
What they want to achieve is – a change in the mindset and attitude of police and youth, and create a model in the society. They also want to encourage women to file cases against any kind of violence.
“Through community policing, we aim to bring about changes in the mindset of people, and the 10 college students will be the agents to bring that revolution. For example, while working with us and with the police, they will understand the problem areas and how to tackle them. They will later spread the message across to their peers, family, community, etc., and that is how they will change mindset of others,” she elaborates.
The initiative will first focus on the areas in and around their college and will later move on to other areas of the city. “As the college is actively involved in fighting against social issues, we chose to collaborate with them,” explains Rashmi.
The selected students were also handpicked after an interactive session was conducted in the college. The ones who seemed passionate and proactive have been given a chance. “We will conduct workshops for the selected students where we will help them understand the problem in detail. We will also design mechanism. The students will also go out and conduct surveys among women and initiate discussions,” she explains further.
Swati Lakra, additional commissioner of Police and founder of SHE Team, was also present. She shared that more than 200 people who abused women in public have been caught.