Snapchat has launched an account that aims to provide support for teenagers trapped in abusive relationships.
The account was started in India by Rajshekar Patil, Avani Parekh and Nida Sheriff. Rajshekar joined forces with Avani, a trained counselor, and Nida, an information specialist to create an account that lends teen support in a non-invasive way.
'We realised that privacy and secrecy are super important for those in abusive relationships, especially for teens and young people,' Nida told Mashable.
The account operates like a normal snapchat account and can be added under the username 'lovedoctordotin'. It provides words of encouragement to those suffering to speak out: 'Snoop on my heart, not on my phone' is one such characteristic message.
The Snap Counsellors hope to target those victims who otherwise use social media to present happy images of themselves and their relationship.
India looks as if it needs all the help it can get: according to a United Nation Population Fund report, 53 percent of teenage girls in Pakistan and India believe that domestic violence — specifically physical abuse — is justified. The account is, however, accessible to teenagers all over the world, both male and female. DoSomething.org reports that "one in three young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship" and that 1.5 million girls and boys in the U.S. 'admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.'
The repercussions of this, the organisation says, can lead to long-term disorders such as alcoholism or eating disorders. A staggering 7 billion videos are watched by users on Snapchat every day: hopefully this account will provide those users who are in an abusive relationship support in a newly accessible fashion.