Victims of Domestic Violence Find a Safe Haven on Snapchat

Screenshot from SnapCounsellors YouTube video 
Domestic violence is a globally faced issue for men and women alike, but the group most at risk are unfortunately vulnerable teenage girls. Our beloved Snapchat app is setting out to change this as of March the 8th. With it's 10 second max. screen time and self-destructing history, it's become a prime way for teens to reach out to counselors about the violence they face without the risk of being caught and further injured or abused; all thanks to Rajshekar Patil, Avani Parekh and Nida Sherrif.

It's a known fact that teenagers and young adults of the 21st century are often permanently attached to their phones and various forms of social media, broadcasting their relationships for their audience to see. However, it's an old but scary saying; you never know what goes on behind a closed door, or rather a locked screen. A quarter of 13-18 year old girls report experiencing physical abuse in their own intimate partner relationships, and one third experience sexual abuse in the UK and Wales alone. Another heart wrenching statistic shows that on average, a woman/girl is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.

The issue of domestic violence in India, which is where this beautiful idea was originally launched, is both notorious yet an anomaly. It's widely known that women in India face domestic violence on a grand scale, but because of the different social norms and values, it's a bit of a tricky one as many women don't report the incidents as they are under the impression that abuse is something to simply face. The new generation however are wising up and being educated on the appalling nature of it, causing them to speak out and not tolerate it any longer.

Many who face abuse feel the obligation to paint their relationship on social media as picture perfect, perhaps through pressure from their abuser or more likely, they feel ashamed and don't want the outside world to realize what's happening to them. The abuser makes them feel like they are the weak ones who should be embarrassed by what they are allowing to happen to them, but the silence only allows the violence to continue. If you're reading this and this hits a nerve, I really just want you to know that it's not nor has it ever been your fault. You don't or didn't deserve any of the pain they caused you or the fear they instilled in you. 

All the teens have to do is add Lovedoctordotin to their account and send a snap with either a message or if the incident has just occurred, a picture of the aftermath. Teens can feel safe in the knowledge that they are speaking to trained counsellors and that this means of communication utilises complete privacy and safety, as previously mentioned there will be no lingering history if they decide to speak out, allowing them a little haven to speak freely. The Lovedoctordotin account also sends stories with cute but informative images such as, "harsh words can hurt as much as a harsh fist", as well as examples and questions regarding what domestic abuse looks like, accompanied by the warning, "If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship".
Fantastically, they have also created a guide with information regarding all forms of abuse, specific to difference scenario's faced by girls in India.

Snapchat users watch an apparent 7 million videos on the app every day, so it's a no brainer that it's an amazing resource that will no doubt give thousands of teens the support they need and deserve.
You can watch their video below, which aims to shine a light on the trauma experienced by these individuals and demonstrate how the Snapchat service could be used to help.

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