Today, as we turn the pages of the newspaper or flip through channels on the television, it is not uncommon to hear about a woman being the victim of a crime like sexual assault, acid attack, dowry death, etc. In fact, as I write this article or when you will be reading it, somewhere, some woman would probably be being subjected to some form of gender based violence. Most forms of oppression have a corresponding form of violence.
For women, that violence has historically been manifested as rape. Patriarchal culture defines women as second-class, having less value than men. Sexual assault and rape have been an accepted part of our culture for centuries. In such a situation, what is a possible solution for a woman? Who can she possibly turn to? Is it her near and dear ones, who very often, themselves are the perpetrators of the crime? Or should she expect a government that cannot think beyond the 2014 elections to provide her with the security and efficient legal system she deserves to have as a citizen of the country? The answer is neither of the above. She needs to turn to herself, and get prepared to protect her mind and body whenever the need could arise.
We have learnt from the very beginning of our lives that self-help is the best help. The sooner we understand and accept this, the better it is for us. Self-defense consists of being strong enough to defend oneself against any unwelcome attack. More important than being physically strong, is the fact that one needs to be mentally strong to be able to do this. Those who commit violence against women choose the most vulnerable area of their victims to attack. A woman's emotions and self-image are typically at the center of the bull's eye.
Physical force or restraint is often unnecessary for an assailant to succeed. As a result, skills to protect the mind and integrity surpass all others. The first step towards this could be to shed the traditionally bred values of meekness and submissiveness to make way for boldness. Further, a set of physical moves which will effectively defend an individual from immediate danger, and discourage wrong-doers should be mastered.
Learning such a physical technique is empowering, and is an invaluable tool for increasing women's self-esteem and self worth. Women's traditional archetype leaves them vulnerable because they are routinely discouraged from any sort of aggressive behavior. As children they are denied opportunities to learn to use their bodies in ways which are self-protective. To undo this damage, a good self-defense class is essential.
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