Trisha Shetty , India
Trisha founded SheSays, a women's rights organisation that fights gender based discrimination through education and awareness raising programmes. Fewer than 6% of incidents of sexual violence against women in India are reported to the policea. SheSays works to equip women with the legal knowledge they need to access support from public institutions. SheSays continually strives to create and improve a nexus of support in the domains of sanitation, education, health care, public safety and public policy. The organisation engages with young people, educating and inspiring them to act as agents of social change.
SheSays runs Sexual Violence Prevention and Education seminars for children in schools and young people in the workplace. India has a huge problem with child sexual abuse, where one in every two children report being abused. Sexual education classes have been banned in India so SheSays developed a curriculum teaching young people about bystander intervention, how to report incidents and how to support a friend who has been a victim of abuse. The session leaders go through extensive training to become familiar with the law and the application of the law, so that if someone reaches out to them following the session they are able to respond accordingly. This training has resulted in an increased number of formal reports of harassment being filed with schools as students become more aware of their rights and the laws that exist to protect them.
SheSays also supports victims of abuse by providing them access to therapy and psychiatric care, helping victims of trauma who are unable to afford such care by giving them help where possible. As well as this, SheSays is involved in public policy and advocacy work. A lawyer by profession, Trisha led a campaign called #LahuKaLagaan (tax on blood) against the tax on menstrual sanitation products in a fight that has reached the Indian High Court, with the support of popular Indian public figures. SheSays also works with the general public against sexual harassment. One example is the 'Grab a Drink, Not a Stranger' campaign, where signs bearing this slogan were displayed in bars and music festivals. Trisha emphasises the importance of raising these issues in public spaces, not just talking about things like women's rights in echo chambers where people already endorse the movement. SheSays has also worked on other women’s rights issues in India, such as the Right to Pray movement.