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Five by Five - Anonymous style meetings for women

"I understand you perfectly"

Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
10 10

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It is unfortunate that there is so much shame associated with discussing abuse. What if we could create safe anonymous community-run groups to help women deal with and avoid future abuse?

The term comes from old radio slang. When communicating over radio, the operator would report the strength and clarity of the signal on a scale of 1 to 5 each. "Five by five", by extension, has come to mean " I understand you perfectly" in situations other than radio communication. 
  • Meet to talk freely about what happened
  • Conduct informal counseling sessions
  • Help each other
  • Mask the group to avoid shame by calling it something else cooking/knitting/sewing/etc
  • Learn something such as self-defense
  • Build close ties with those who empathize with you
  • Talk about areas/locations to avoid
This idea is a work in progress...please chime in with your thoughts. Thanks!


Where will women meet? 
An initial meeting place could be an area frequented by women, e.g.: places of worship. Most places have prayer rooms or open space to accommodate larger crowds. This AA style meeting could be masked by calling it a prayer group or a hobby class. The group is facilitated by a mentor.

What will they dicsuss?
This is a great opportunity to collaborate with Kandu 
  • This group creates a safety net for women to talk about abuse and anything related to her wellbeing. 
  • Leverage the analogy of signal strengths to facilitate conversation e.g.: 1 = I don’t understand what you mean; 5 = I understand you perfectly.
A quick scenario:
Abha is a victim of domestic violence, and is narrating her experience to the group. As she finishes her story, three other women hold up a number “5” card. This means they understand Abha perfectly, and have possibly been in a similar situation. The group mentor asks if they would like to share their experiences, leading into a conversation about how to handle such situations should they recur. In the back, another lady holds up a # ”2” card. She is not a victim and does not understand domestic violence. This is a good opportunity for the mentor and Abha to educate her about the possible signs leading upto domestic violence.

How will they keep connected?
They would keep connected via text messaging, but some sort of code must be established to ensure safety. In addition, they could keep in touch through their mentor. This is meant to be an anonymous group, but women could volunteer to share their first name.


Explain your idea in one sentence.

What if we could create safe anonymous community-run groups to help women deal with and avoid future abuse.

What is the need you are trying to solve?



Join the conversation:

Photo of jyotirmaya mahapatra

This surely will have some impact looking at the long run. It will be interesting to see how you plan to facilitate such interactions.
You might want to read about Meena Keshwar. The entire idea of RAWA started with such anonymous meetings during the time of Russian & Taliban resistance.

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