Domestic violence has always been a serious issue on a global level. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has reached a new height. So, a high-schooler in Poland has come up with a brilliant idea to help rescue domestic violence victims. The teenager launched a fake online cosmetic shop where victims can seek help without the perpetrators’ knowledge.
Krystyna Paszko, a Polish teenager has launched a fake online shop with the name “Rumianki i Bratki” (Camomiles and Pansies). The shop claims to sell all-natural products. But, in reality, it is a way for domestic violence and abuse victims to seek the help they otherwise wouldn’t get.
Inspiration for the Fake Online Shop.
Krystyna’s biggest inspiration behind launching the fake online shop was the increasing number of domestic violence cases. The reports were already high but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cases are even higher. Thus, in an attempt to help reach out to the victims, Paszko came up with a brilliant idea. However, initially, she created the platform so she can help out her troubled friends and family members.
Krystyna heard about a French initiative that inspired her to launch her secret mission. In France, people go to pharmacies to buy a special mask which is a code word for asking for help. The pharmacists then know that these people are victims of domestic violence, thus providing them the help they deserve.
Similarly, Paszko’s website has several code words that can alert authorities about domestic violence victims without the perpetrators’ knowledge.
How Does the Fake Shop Work?
At a glance, Camomiles and Pansies look like any other online cosmetic shop. It has cosmetic products lined up which you can purchase. However, your purchase comes with a catch.
If you “buy” any product from the site, a professional psychologist will reach out to you instead of a salesperson. They’ll then ask you about your “skin problem,” which in reality is a code for your mental health. But if you put on a request for delivery by giving your address, authorities will show up at your house with help. So, if anyone who’s been facing abuse at home can secretly send their call for help through the website.
Due to the overwhelming support Krystyna met online, she reached out to a Polish NGO, the Women’s Rights Center who was kind enough to provide professional psychologists and lawyers to help people who reached out. And thanks to her brilliant idea, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) awarded Krystyna Paszko the Civil Solidarity Prize.
Domestic Violence: A Global Issue.
Globally, 35% of women have experienced domestic abuse (sexual or physical). 137 women are killed every day by a member of their family. Men too have always been and are increasingly becoming victims of domestic violence yet, the issue is barely discussed.
According to Krystyna, more than 350 people reached out for help under which 10% were male. And most of them were young people, mostly under 40 years of age. However, with Krystyna Paszko’s creation, it’s easier for victims to seek help.