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The chasm between women and justice
One in three women in India experience intimate partner violence. One woman is raped every twenty minutes. Yet, ninety percent of women facing gender-based violence do not seek help. Why does this gap exist between survivors and legal justice?
Women facing violence in India first have to surmount the fear of stigma and prejudice oftentimes associated with calling public attention to intimate partner violence. They then have to parse through complex, and oftentimes obfuscated, laws and systems. This problem is further compounded because Indian lawyers are legally prohibited from advertising, so accessing legal support solely relies upon personal knowledge and personal networks.
Meeting women where they are
At Shakti, we believe that legal solutions for women should be easy to access, easy to understand, and easy to follow. That is why Shakti uses widely available mobile phones to convey legal information, plans of action, and a directory of local, relevant service providers to women facing rights violations. Service providers include nonprofits, shelters, protection officers, counsellors, and pro-bono lawyers.
Women can call our toll-free number or message us on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to navigate a series of automated messages that will give them useful information. This solution caters to women at all levels of literacy, it can be accessed through audio or written content, uses simple vocabulary that anyone can understand, conveys accurate information developed and reviewed by lawyers, maintains the woman’s anonymity, is available 24/7, and is translated into local languages.
Supporting service providers
Service providers in the area of women’s rights are often understaffed and overwhelmed. Counsellors often have to double up, not just as mental health care providers, but also as informal legal guides. Our content, thus, provides value to service providers too. Instead of researching legal solutions for patients and remembering complex legal information, counsellors can now focus their time on providing mental health care. By connecting their patients to Shakti’s directory of service providers, counsellors can redirect women to relevant services, including legal, health, etc.
Shakti can reach millions of women, but we need your help to get there
On March 20, Shakti’s mobile platforms will go live. This day marks the beginning of our pilot project, a key milestone through which we will:
- Test the platform with hundreds of users and use the feedback received to improve its usability and relevance
- Translate the legal information to four Indian local languages - Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and Marathi
- Establish partnerships with new organizations to further disseminate the platform to women and service providers
- Develop new legal themes beyond domestic violence, rape, stalking, child abuse, and elder abuse
- Ensure our financial sustainability by hiring a fundraising manager
Who we are
Shakti is a charitable project fiscally sponsored by Angels for Angels - a nonprofit 501(c)3 based in Washington, United States, that supports social entrepreneurs. Shakti’s efforts are fueled by committed staff, volunteers, partners, and mentors around the world. Through your donation, you can help Shakti empower women to access justice.
Shakti was founded by Meghana Chandra and Mariana Botero. Meghana has 7 years of experience as a lawyer in India and in public sector research and evaluation. Mariana has 6 years of experience in social entrepreneurship and, more recently, philanthropy consulting.
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