Women have landed on the Moon, walked in space, been elected as Heads of States, they have proved themselves equal to men in every way, Yet they are not safe in their own immediate surroundings.
Aggression and assault is a women's reality, crime against women is a daily occurrence, age, class, qualification hold no significance. These attacks are all abuses of power, where the attacker (mostly males) uses the act of violence to dominate and demonstrate power over the attackees.
The sad reality is that we live in an increasingly violent society in which the fear of crime is ever present. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for everyone, especially women. To survive woman need to fight back.
The first step towards effective self-defense is to realise no matter what, all of us are susceptible to various forms of crime . And it is well documented that women of all ages have successfully defended themselves against male attackers.
Eve teasing, sexual harassment, molestation, domestic, violence etc. no matter what the statistics are, if you are being harassed or assaulted it will be 100%.
The situation needs to be addressed and taking a step forward Smile foundation is organising a series of workshop on "Basics of self defense" for adolescent girls and women as part of its Safety & Awareness Campaign.
In the first phase 5 workshops were organised in communities of Safdarjung Enclave, Okhla, Nangloi, Mahipalpur and Lado Sarai with a total participation of over 500.
These sessions were conducted by experts from the Women cell of Delhi Police. And were in the form of lectures coupled with discussion and demonstration of a few basic self-defense techniques.
The objective of the workshops were be to make the participants aware of different situations and how to deal with them. Also covered were the topics of "Myths about women, violence and self-defense", body language", "how to use everyday items as weapons and basics about the redressal procedures and how to approach the police.
In essence the workshops were a wake up call to the participants that:
'Never, never think that it couldn't happen to you!' Have a plan! Act Hard! Be prepared!
Women have a right to their space.
Women have a right to their freedom and autonomy… and must defend these rights.
The workshops highlighted the fact that it was absolutely essential that women/girls raise their voice against any misconduct and get the perpetrators to justice as it will not only teach the perpetrators a lesson but also act as a deterrent against them repeating the offense. The idea that one will be able to pick out a potential attacker by their appearance, age, class, relation, gender, and what they do for a living is a mistake. The message loud and clear was Gone are the days when girls were required to lower their gaze, walk straight and speak softly, the mantra for today is look up, be alert about what's happening around you and speak up against injustice.
The response to the workshops has been overwhelming and repeat/new workshops will be held in the old and new communities. The target is to cover at least 1200 girls/women through the basic workshops and 200 girls/women through the 15 day Self Defense Training by December 2003. The 15 day Self Defense Training for above 5 communities will be held in the months of August to October.