Abused women break their silence using 'iClik' device

A woman of Bhubaneswar like many victims of domestic violence was beaten mercilessly when she did not supply her husband's demands for more dowry. Like many of her unfortunate ilk, she was afraid of her husband, mistrustful of police and worried about what her family and neighbours would think. This September a newspaper story about a new ATM-type of machine where women could anonymously report crimes, spurred the woman to take the first step to end the abuse. At a booth located near a banking machine she recorded her testimony through an inbuilt microphone. Soon after she received a call from the police and within days her husband was arrested and charged. The woman is one of a growing number of women in Bhubaneswar who are finding rescue by using the Instant Complaint Logging Internet Kiosk (iClik) which began operating in January, and is the brainchild of Joydeep Nayak, head of the Odisha police's human rights unit, who came up with the idea after the high-profile gang rape and murder of a young woman aboard a Delhi bus in 2012. Nayak said the iClik has been receiving around five complaints daily, most related to sexual harassment. The prototype machine operates 24 hours a day in English, Hindi and Oriya, and provides 3 ways to lodge a complaint – by sending an email, recording a voice message or by scanning a written complaint. Having iClik next to an ATM works well as there is power backup and a security guard already at the booth. Nayak now has plans to roll out more kiosks across the city and police in other Indian cities have also expressed interest in the device. As the rescued woman told a social worker, iClik not only saved her from her husband's assaults, it also helped her escape social stigma as no one knows she herself reported the crimes.