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Local Tiktokkers in their hand- in- hand initiative t-shirts

Carisa Lee

A group of Local Tiktokkers have collaborated with a production company to alleviate gender-based violence in this country.

Statistics show that one in every three women have been affected by this type of violence. A figure that hit home for the members of Steven Edwards Productions during an online drama class where a conversation about abuse revealed that seven of the ten women there were survivors.

“When Ashanti passed there was one particular student who left a voice note and said Steven I can’t come to class because what happened to Ashanti happened to her, the only thing is was that she was left to be alive,” said Steven Edwards who recounted a conversation he had with one of his students.

He said the student told him that she begged her abusers to go home and Ashanti’s murder brought back traumatic memories.

The ages of the women in the class ranged from teenage to mature and after their revelations the group decided that it was time to take a stand against gender-based violence. So, they developed the Hand in Hand initiative, a 40-day programme that will seek to educate the population about this type of abuse through social media and face to face interaction.

“It’s not something that we can tackle alone, it takes all of us, one hand doh clap,” Edwards said.

In the six weeks, they plan to visit safe houses, provide online classes for survivors so they can be emancipated and through their plays tell different abuse stories which can be viewed on their social media platforms using the hashtag handinhandtt.

Performance manager Akil Samuel explained that one of the plays would focus on the male predator while another would be called from victim to victor focusing on survivors of abuse.

“We want to bring exposure in this the Hand in Hand initiative,” he said.

Local Tiktokker Sachin Balkissoon who has over 25 thousand followers on the app was part of the class, he said talk is cheap and it’s time to do more because the next person could be you. He said one of his friends was a victim of incest and had no one to talk to.

“She was raped by her cousin at a very young age, she can’t face the guy or family events she told her parents and they did nothing about it,” Balkissoon said.

He told Guardian Media that he too had to make change with the way he treated his women friends and the race debate or political debate surrounding the deaths of women will not help protect them.

To spread the word of the initiative he recruited several local tiktokkers which included Nikeisha Ramlal who is also a survivor of domestic abuse.

Using her experience, Ramlal said a main issue is that women don’t talk about the abuse, something she hopes she can change through her messages to her over 100,000 followers on the app.

“A lot of women like to keep it a secret and I‘ve been trying to figure out why, and I was one of those women, why was I ashamed?” she asked herself.

Ramlal said all they want is to use their platforms to make a difference and if she can help five women open up about their abuse and seek help then she has done her job.

The 40 days started on yesterday. To contact the Steven Edwards Productions call 763-6603 or visit social media platforms.