18 October 2019 04:21 PM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 20 FEBRUARY, 2018

A Sense of Safety

Self defence for women is of utmost important today


In this world full of uncertainties, young girls and women often come across circumstances in which they need to defend themselves. With the excessive rise in crime, the need of the hour is in learning how to do just that. This is where the art of self-defence comes in - this is nothing but a set of physical techniques that are applied to protect oneself from being harmed. Keeping with the current adverse situation prevailing around the globe, it is highly essential to learn self-defence.

Self-defence training builds our confidence and makes us mentally agile and ready to counter an unexpected evil attempt anytime. It is important to keep our mind active and vigilant; and keep an eagle’s eye over our surroundings and happenings at all times.

The fairer sex is usually thought of being a soft target for physical attacks. Women are often projected in society merely as an item of fantasy, physically weak and unable to resist an attack. Self-defence is extremely important and almost necessary for women, as they are often subjected to sexual assaults and harassment. Such a training particularly helps women to learn techniques and thwart unwanted attempts enabling them to resist and fight back under crucial conditions. In India there is a significant rise in the number of women undergoing self-defence training after a spurt in rape and harassment incidents.

To protect oneself from being harmed, injured or killed is a basic right of every human being. Instead of becoming vulnerable and helpless, we need to learn tactics to defend ourselves. And the person that can best defend ‘you’ is none other than you yourself.

Self-defence, especially for women, is of utmost importance in the kind of environment we live in today as cases of gender violence are on the rise, out of which many go unreported unfortunately. Rape, molestation, kidnapping and murder are the most common forms of crime against women. Women in India are also vulnerable to acid attacks and eve-teasing.

Sadly, the mind-set of the people, including the victim and the spectator, is to ignore and just let it go. But, what we, as responsible citizens fail to realise is that these instances of harassment can flare up into other bigger heinous crimes against women. And that is when the importance of learning self-defence techniques for women is felt.

Life is a gift. It’s also unpredictable. Self-defence helps to prepare you for unexpected situations and also helps develop increased mental and physical health. It may be hard to imagine being attacked by a stranger, but it happens every day. These attacks occur without warning, and when individuals least expect it.

When you learn self-defence skills it increases your confidence. This allows you to trust yourself and take appropriate action in potentially dangerous situations. Whether walking alone at night or traveling in a foreign city, you’ll feel ten times safer. You also foster a level of mental strength that allows individuals to instinctually take advantage of time and space when facing an unexpected attack.

By developing these skills, you’ll be able to respond to unforeseen circumstances with lightning speed. Your mental strength isn’t the only thing that’s empowered. By making yourself a stronger person inside and out, you’ll be far better prepared to face real world dangers.

Nothing feels better than knowing you can take care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically. Being able to protect yourself in all situations is a confidence booster as much as it is a reassurance. It helps you develop a fighter’s reflex and a warrior spirit... In a fight, movement is power. You can’t stand around and wait for your attacker’s next strike, you have to move! You must be prepared and know where to step and where to throw your punch.

In India, the cases of gender violence are increasing and many of which go unreported or unregistered. This is because India is a place where women are taught not to get raped but men are not taught to not rape. But for the moment, it is very important for women in India to learn self-defence for their own safety and survival.

Several institutes like DARE (Defence against rape and eve teasers) by Institute of Martial Science in Mumbai, Smile Foundation and Blank Noise work towards women self-defence awareness. Stressful situations evoke a fight, flight or freeze response. Self-defence skills prepare you to fight rather than freeze and such organisations are the place to learn how to put up an impressive fight against the attacker. Most of these organisations host workshops, road events and demonstrations to increase awareness about street violence.

Though self-defence training might not be easily available everywhere, women can make up for this by learning self-defence techniques from websites which have proper training content and tutorials.

Crime can happen to anyone at any time. Whether you want to live in your fantasy world or not, this is the harsh reality. At some point in your life as a woman you will flash across a predator's (mainly male) radar as prey. You will be attacked. You will be alone and you will be vulnerable. And most likely, it will come from the one you least expected.

The next question is: What will you do? Be the role model for the next generation. We tell our daughters they can be anything they want. How about safe? How do we show them how to protect themselves against rape, incest, assault, domestic violence, etc. if we don't set the example of being strong and standing up for ourselves by being able to defend ourselves - emotionally, verbally, physically and spiritually?

If we continue to move in silence about rape, assault, emotional battering, and domestic violence how are we going to help our daughters become stronger and show our sons what is and is not acceptable behaviour from a male?
 

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