The Rakshin Project : Prevent Sexual Violence through a Systemic Intervention with 4 Million NSS Volunteers.
This COVID-19 period has seen a surge in demand for violent child pornography by 200% as per ICPF, sexual violence has spiked by 7.3% since 2018 as per the NCRB report, we have seen an emergence of an unprecedented rise in domestic violence and child sexual abuse. 53% Children in India are Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Unaddressed Trauma leads to Behavioural Problems & 40% Loss in Productivity. CSA alone, has a 2-8% Impact on Global GDP.
We are trapped in a loop when we respond to accounts of Rapes and Sexual Violence. There is outrage, protests, polarizations, a surge of media frenzy, a call for reform and resignations, and honest, real, despair from individual citizens. And then? Nothing.
Justice Verma said in the Verma Commission report, that "If we can stop ogling, we can nip sexual violence in the bud." All of us who ignore the conditions that lead up to sexual assault are actually complicit with our inaction. Omission is Commission. We need to invest in Prevention as the Action that examines, interrogates and questions the root causes of this rape culture, instead of traveling from outrage to outrage in response to whichever rape case catches the spotlight.
The only sustainable solution we see for this deep-seated Patriarchy and Misogyny is to raise a generation of responsible and accountable adults who can prevent harm and are equipped to create a Constitutional Rights-Based Enabled Environment. Sakshi in 28 years of its existence has always worked on Systemic Interventions to ensure sustainability. The Rakshin Project too, is a Systemic Intervention in a pro-bono Partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
The Rakshin Project Includes 3 Pillars:
- Activation Workshop: An awareness session on Rights & Responsibilities for Gender Equality. The Workshop covers 5 Critical Messages : Equality, Consent, The Law, Barriers & Creating Safe Spaces
- Resolution Mechanisms: If any of the students have been subjected personally, they will be offered free-of-cost tools to resolve the deep-seated trauma through Creative Expressions, Online Counselling and Legal Aid.
- Fellowship Programme: A 5 Level, 18 Module & 12 Certificate Fellowship Programme will ensure Sustained Capacity Building for 2 Years. The Rakshin will be skill-built to become the message carrier and further educate their peers and community.
With workshops and sustained engagement over 2 years in 40,000 Colleges with 4 Million Youth, the idea is to create a Social Tipping Point in the country.
NSS Volunteers will be capacity built to recognise and prevent sexual violence with a focus on child sexual abuse. They will be guided towards mechanisms to resolve their personal experiences if any, and access Systems of Redress in order to strengthen prohibition. The Five Levels of Rakshin Fellows offered over the Two-Year Sustained Engagement, will prepare students for a work culture with a focus on Gender Equality, Diversity And Inclusion.
The expected outcome is :
- A Generation of Equals empowered with Gender Equality Education & Rights based Language
- A Generation that is Mentally Healthy and Sexually Responsible.
- A Secure Environment that Prevents Sexual Violence
Sakshi (regd. NGO, 1992) is a capacity-building organisation, with Equality as our founding principle. We strive to make equality a reality for vulnerable groups by empowering youth, women, children, and marginalised groups, with a focus on diversity & inclusiveness, gender & sexual rights, water, sanitation & hygiene, peaceful coexistence and leadership.
Sakshi’s landmark PILs 'Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan' and 'Sakshi Vs. Union of India' have led to the development of a Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Law (POSH 2013), drafting of a Reformative Sexual Assault Law (Sexual Assault Bill 2010), design of Special Procedures for Women and Children in Sexual Violence Cases (POCSO 2012).
Sakshi also led the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum on Judicial Education on Equality Issues, a Judicial education programme for the Judiciary of 5 Nations: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The programme ran for 10 Years and was selected as a 'Best Practice Programme' by UN Women in 2001. In 2019, Sakshi was awarded the ASSOCHAM Award for 'Outstanding Contribution Towards Gender Equality'.
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