ABout Rahi

RAHI Foundation, established in 1996, is a pioneering organization focused on women survivors of Incest and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). RAHI’s work includes support and recovery through the distinctive RAHI Model of Healing; awareness and education about Incest/ CSA; training and intervention; and research and capacity building - all established within the larger issue of social change.

Professionally informed and with deep experience, RAHI is a feminist group that has created a supportive environment for survivors. It goes beyond ‘breaking the silence’ and has developed a powerful voice that strives to mainstream the discussion about Incest/ CSA in India and include it in social dialogue. Addressing the long-term impact of incest /CSA on adult women, RAHI not only forms the backbone of work on this issue in India but has also paved the way for incest/CSA to become a ‘field’ in the country, and inspired other groups working in this area.

We understand survivors.

RAHI's professional services for adult women survivors is based on an informed understanding of psychological trauma. They are uniquely designed, informed by years of working with and understanding survivors and their specific issues. The RAHI Model of Healing is located within social contexts and change, transforming trauma through social action and building social awareness.

One clear goal is raising awareness about the issue of incest/ CSA and building resources within the country for effective prevention and intervention. Even as it educates and trains, many of RAHI’s initiatives are driven by the belief that survivors can convert their pain by taking meaningful action in social prevention. The organization runs programs and workshops, using innovative and effective methods. It provides information, resources and referrals, continually building a network of handpicked professionals as associates.

While firmly located within the feminist movement in the country, RAHI also straddles the different and strongly related areas of Women’s Rights, Child Rights, Mental Health, Trauma, and Sexuality.

RAHI is based in New Delhi, India, and works across the country.

  • counseling and support
  • advocacy, raising awareness and communication
  • education, training and capacity building
  • research

Some Landmark Initiatives

  • +Research Report : Voices from the Silent Zone: Women’s Experiences of Incest and Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1998

    A RAHI research report based on the sharing of 600 women. The first research of its kind in India on incest, bring out crucial data on prevalence, abusers, forms of abuse, disclosure of abuse and issues faced by survivors. This data has been disseminated widely through the media, university libraries, and resource centers and forms the basic body of research on incest/CSA in India.

  • +Book : The House I Grew Up In: Five Indian Women’s Experiences of Incest, 1999

    A collection of powerful personal testimonies of five Indian women survivors of childhood incest and its impact on their lives. The book provides a disquieting glimpse into the nature of incest and how it takes place in middle class India. In its second reprint, it is sold at mainstream bookstores and is widely used as a resource for survivors, mental health professionals in their clinical work, students and researchers.

  • +Training Initiative : Psychodrama Workshops, 2000

    RAHI conducted a series of training workshops for mental health professionals and healing workshops for incest/CSA survivors in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata using psychodrama as a treatment technique for trauma issues. This was done in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Ridge, a psycho-dramatist certified by the American and Australian Boards of Psychodrama. This course equipped mental health professionals with creative therapeutic tools to deal with not only incest/CSA clients but also those struggling with the trauma of state sponsored violence and riots in different parts of the country. The workshops held with survivors brought incest/CSA survivors together for the first time in a group and had significant healing consequences for them. The workshops also led to other survivor groups being formed.

  • +Support Initiative : Circle of Strength, 2001

    RAHI’s 12-week support group for women survivors started in 2001 as a consequence of the psychodrama workshops conducted by us the previous year. In this group women explore together the effects of abuse on their lives and honor what they did to survive. By talking, listening and responding to each other, they gain new insights into their problems and find effective ways of coping with the pain and agitation that is linked to earlier life situations of unwanted sexual experiences. Through this process women are able to develop inner strengths, build healthier relationships, feel a greater sense of self and engage with their environment with renewed confidence, mastery and responsibility. ‘Circle of Strength’ provides 36 hours of therapeutic work to its participants and is conducted by two trained facilitators. It uses discussions, individual exercises, craft, music, massage, movement and other creative recovery tools. This group is currently offered once a year.

  • +Play : 30 Days in September

    The first play on incest in India. Commissioned and researched by RAHI and written by the well-known playwright, Mahesh Dattani, the play was born out of RAHI’s work with survivors and based on the stories the women shared with the playwright. The play is now recognized as a critically acclaimed commercial production, and continues to have successful runs in different parts of the country and abroad. It has completed over 75 shows and has been translated into several Indian languages.

  • +Professional Education : International Collaboration for Trauma Work in India, 2002-2003

    A collaborative venture between RAHI Foundation, Boston University School of Medicine, Dept of Psychiatry and the Arbor Trauma Center, Boston set up with an aim to advance trauma work in India. Held over a month and included one-day seminars in Delhi and Mumbai, group discussions and presentations with mental health professionals in collaboration with mental health bodies in Delhi such as VIMHANS and Psychological Foundations, a presentation to pediatricians in Kochi and field visits to grass root organizations in the sate of Uttar Pradesh. The mainstay of this project was a national workshop ‘Women & Violence: from Trauma to Recovery’ directed at women’s’ groups from different parts of the country working with victims and survivors of incest, childhood sexual abuse, rape, battering, armed conflict, communal riots and other forms of violence and trauma. The resource person, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a representative of the two Boston Institutes, is one of the world’s leading authorities in the study of human trauma and its treatment.

  • +Professional Paper : Childhood and Adolescent Sexual Abuse and Incest: Experiences of Women Survivors in India, 2003

    A paper based on RAHI’s work with women survivors over the years. It was first presented at an international WHO conference on ‘Non-Consensual Sexual Experiences of Young People’ in New Delhi held in September 2003. The evidence provided in this paper is gathered retrospectively, where the voice of the sexually abused child is that of an adult recalling her experiences of childhood victimization and describing the impact such experience have had on her life. The paper establishes the prevalence of incest in middle-class Indian families. It provides an insight into survivors’ definitions and descriptions of their abuse experiences the relationship they share with their abusers, the ambivalent feelings resulting from such abuse and the impact incest has on their psychological, emotional and sexual development from childhood to adulthood. The paper has been published in a book entitled ‘Sex without Consent: Young People in Developing Countries’, Zed Books, 2005, New York

  • +Mentorship and Leadership Initiative : Incest/CSA groups in other cities, 2002-2005

    RAHI has helped start and mentored leaders of two incest/CSA groups to establish them in Bangalore and Kolkata. The Bangalore group ‘Askios’ is the first self-help survivor group in the country. RAHI helped in the conceptualisation of the group, drawing up ethical and other guidelines for its’ functioning. The Kolkata group ‘Elaan’ is a group run by a young woman survivor who RAHI has and mentored over the last five years. It was started as a group for young people from schools and colleges in Kolkata doing educational programmes on incest/CSA.

  • +Peer Education Program : Unique Peer Education Program for young college students, 2004

    The PEP is RAHI’s unique student peer intervention strategy. It involves the training of women in different colleges of Delhi to be Peer Educators (PEs). Once trained, our PEs design and lead campaigns against incest/CSA for their peers, including young men. These could be debates, poster competitions, theatre events, workshops, book readings, movie shows and stalls during the college fests.

  • +Marathon, 2008 – 2010
    • RAHI wins the 2nd highest pledge raised (Women’s category)
    • It is the Highest pledge raising NGO
    • The Highest pledge raiser in IPledge category
  • +RAHI launches its Adolescent for Sexual Abuse Prevention (ASAP) program in schools in Delhi, 2011

    The training workshop talks to is meant to arm young adolescents from schools about to spread awareness on issues related to sexuality, like consent, rape, CSA, homosexuality and peer pressure related to sexual behaviour.

  • +RAHI’s work with the Aamir Khan Team for the episode on CSA for Satyamev Jayate, 2012
  • +RAHI launches its Firebird program, 2013
  • +RAHI launches its month long Internship program for young college students, 2013
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