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When women fight back

  • Published at 06:45 pm March 14th, 2018
  • Last updated at 07:56 pm March 14th, 2018
When women fight back
On March 7, Bangladeshi Facebook users were stunned by a woman’s status where she vividly described how she was sexually harassed by a group of hooligans in the street. Sadly, it is only one among countless incidents of women being victims of sexual violence that regularly happen in the public and private spaces. Economically, Bangladesh is developing at a meteoric pace. One of the factors driving this growth is an increasing participation of women in the workforce. More women are receiving college education than ever before. However, the greater economic freedom comes at the cost of greater security risk, especially as women increasingly need to move around alone. According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a legal aid and human rights organization, 846 women were raped in 2015, 724 in 2016, and 818 in 2017. However, this is only the number of reported cases of rape. Many more cases, including other forms of harassment remain unreported. Even though tightening law enforcement would be ideal, it is not always the solution, unfortunately. One of the most effective ways people have been able to better protect against these threats is train for self-defense. To many, self-defense lessons for women are not an option anymore, but a necessity. Zaiba Tahyya, Founder and CEO at FEM – Female Empowerment Movement, highlights that a mastery of the arts of self defense boosts the confidence of women and enables them to better defend themselves against physical threats. “FEM started teaching self defense to women in low income areas through a project called 'Project Attorokkha'. At that time, I wanted to reduce vulnerability of women and increase their mobility by boosting their confidence. Although most people confuse self defense as promotion of violence, we realized that through our project a lot of women were approaching and standing up for rights. They were more visible in their community. Through acquiring this skill, they became more open to participating in activities which they thought were only reserved for or dominated by their male counterparts,” said Tahyya. Aru Nita, who is trained in Krav Maga, a self-defense system, feels that her training has equipped her to rely on her own strength to protect herself and doesn't feel vulnerable like she did before learning the self-defense system. “As I am a student and run my own small business, I have to come out of my house for classes and other activities every day, and I face very uncomfortable circumstances especially in public places like public buses, specially in the New Market, Nilkhet and areas like that. I've faced many awkward situations like ‘bad-touch’, stares, etc. In addition, I listen to scary experiences from my friends, classmates and close ones every day. In short, this city is not safe for women right now.” She continues, saying, “Before joining Krav Maga classes, I was a very sensitive, timid-of-crowded-places type of person. I used to carry tools like NT cutters for protection. But now I'm more aware and confident about myself. Now, I know my body is my own and it is my right to protect it. I don't have to carry weapons to protect myself. I myself am a weapon now. I realized that Krav Maga not only helped me to defend myself, it also improved my entire sense of self.” Some places to learn self defense for women: Tactical Krav Maga Bangladesh Address: 48, Siddheswari Road, Dhaka Phone: 01850480028 Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/TacticalKravMagaBangladesh/ Vo2 Urban Fitness Address: House 1/B, Road 8, Gulshan 1, Dhaka Phone: 01768442244 Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/vo2bd/ Black Belt Academy Address: House 6 (1st floor), Road 113/A, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212 Phone: 01817519762 Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/BlackBeltAcademyBD/ Aamra Active Address: House 8, Road 50, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212 Phone: 01686955509 Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/aamraActive/