IMPACT

Snapchat Is Helping Teens In Abusive Relationships Get Help

The disappearing messages make victims feel safer about opening up.

24/03/2016 3:16 AM IST | Updated 28/03/2016 9:03 PM IST

Snapchat’s growing up.

The messaging app that was once defined by its disappearing illicit photos is now serving as an opportune platform for teenagers in abusive relationships.

Realizing how challenging it often is for victims to open up about their abuse, Rajshekar Patil, an ad executive based in Mumbai, knew he could capitalize on the impermanence of Snapchat’s messages to empower this specific group, Tech in Asia reported.

Together with two licensed professionals, Patil launched Snap Counsellors this month, a group that enables users to report abuse and learn about resources where they can seek help, according to a press release. 

Patil, who works at global creative agency TBWA, teamed up with Nida Sheriff, who runs Chayn India –- a web platform that supports domestic abuse victims -- and Avani Parekh, who’s behind LoveDoctor, a platform where users can get confidential answers from experts about relationship and sex issues.

“We realized that privacy and secrecy are super important for those in abusive relationships, especially for teens and young people,” Sheriff told BuzzFeed.

The account posts stories related to relationship abuse and about 200 people are watching them, according to Tech in Asia. The group posts basic definitions of verbal and physical abuse in a relatable way and such phrases as "Better Single than Scarred." It also shares anonymous confessions and messages of support. 

To help gain traction, the group recently released a PSA that shows an abuse victim who is anxious about sharing a picture of her bruised face with her friends. Too fearful to out her boyfriend, the girl crops out the marks on her face and pairs the image with pizza emojis.

Users can add the account using “i.d.lovedoctordotin” and can contact the group with questions. The group refers people in need of help to live counselors at Chayn India and LoveDoctor.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

​Information regarding Rajshekar Patil's employment has been updated to prevent any misleading associations.

The Huffington Post

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