Coming forward

Snapchat filters give Indian women courage to say they’ve been raped and sexually abused

Snapchat filters may be most known for adding whimsy and fun to conversations between friends — from sticking a dog nose on your face to vomiting rainbows — but for survivors of sexual assault in India, they are adding something far more serious — the ability for them to safely share their stories with the world.

Yusuf Omar is a mobile editor at the Hindustan Times who uses Snapchat filters to interview victims of sexual assault. The filters allow the women to disguise their faces, but keep their eyes visible as they tell their stories of abuse.

It is against the law in India to identify victims of sexual assault. The filters allow the victims to raise their voices in anonymity with a method that’s familiar to them — many already use Snapchat with their friends — rather than by staring down the lens of an intimidating news camera.

Omar gives the women a phone and their privacy and they chose their own filters. He says it makes them more comfortable than relying on him to obscure their faces. “They liked the fact that they could see the final image in front of them and did not have to rely on me to adequately hide their identities,” he told the BBC.

Watch the video below to hear one woman’s story of being abused at age 5.

 

Read the full story at the BBC.

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