RAHI’s Peer Education Program (PEP) is a unique student peer intervention strategy that works with young women on Delhi’s college campuses for the prevention and healing of child sexual abuse.
PEP aims to build resources within the student community for incest/CSA prevention and healing. The Program is designed to effect change at the individual level - increasing students’ knowledge of the subject, modifying their attitudes towards those affected by such abuse, and creating healing resources within the community for student survivors. PEP is also focused on effecting change at the group or societal level, questioning the existing silence, beliefs and perceptions on incest/CSA in the community and stimulating collective student action for its prevention and healing.
We select students in different colleges in Delhi and train them as Peer Educators (PEs) over 1-3 days. Our training gives them a thorough grounding on the issue of child sexual abuse. Students also learn the art of listening to a friend talking about her sexual abuse experiences, how to make presentations and function as a team. The training is rounded off with some practical goal setting and a concrete plan of action.
Once trained our PEs design and lead educational activities for their peers, including young men. They organize debates, poster competitions, theatre events, workshops, book readings, movie shows, and stalls during the college fests. On a more individual level they integrate this into their everyday conversations and act as referral sources for their friends who have been sexually abused.
RAHI’s PEP was launched in October 2004. So far we have trained 84 students from 12 colleges in Delhi as Peer Educators. These PEs have reached out to over 7000 students, both girls and boys, in Delhi.
The PEs held two path-breaking seminars ‘Preventing Incest/CSA: Within Our Reach’ (January 2005) and ‘STOP IT NOW: An Open Message to Child Molesters’ (February 2006). For the first time, survivors from the PE group gave their personal testimonies on camera. These were filmed, edited and presented at the seminar by PEs themselves.
Our PEs are dedicated and courageous young women. They represent the changing face of the young Indian woman who is questioning the existing status of women in India and strives to make the world a better place for women and children.
The PEP is an example of how young women can come together and create a space where personal abuse experiences can be transformed into meaningful social action.
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