Here's Why This Teen Created A Fake Beauty Store

Domestic violence victims get help from a psychologist posing as a salesperson who sends law enforcement if an “order” is placed.

Krystyna Paszko [screenshot via BBC News]

Krystyna Paszko [screenshot via BBC News]

Krystyna Paszko [screenshot via BBC News]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A Polish high school student won an award from the European Union after she came up with an inventive way to help victims of domestic abuse safely ask for help through a fake online cosmetics shop.

Krystyna Paszko, 17, was troubled by an increase in domestic violence reports at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to take action, according to the BBC.

“Then I heard about a French initiative, where people go to the pharmacy and ask for a special mask that lets the pharmacist know they are a victim of domestic violence,” Paszko said. “I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I came up with the idea of selling cosmetics.”

Last April, Paszko launched the Facebook shop Rumianki i Bratki, or Chamomiles and Pansies in English. The page looks like a destination for beauty products but it actually allows those in danger to seek assistance while appearing as if they are only doing some online shopping.

A domestic violence victim requesting a face cream on the site triggers a psychologist posing as a salesperson to respond and gather information by asking, for example, how long “skin problems” have been occurring, the BBC reported.

The psychologist will notify and send law enforcement authorities to a specific location to intervene if the victim places an “order” and enters a “shipping” address.

Paszko, who is a scout leader in Warsaw, was able to make her plan a reality by working with a Polish women’s center, which provided lawyers and psychologists to work with her and the Chamomiles and Pansies Facebook site.

“For many years I've been interested in human and women's rights, and because of that I read about the increase in domestic violence and wanted to do this,” Paszko said, adding, “Scouting taught me how important it is to help others and to be interested in the world around me.”

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