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Schools launch self-defense lessons for girls

High rate of violence against women sparks action

Schools launch self-defense lessons for girls
Students take part in a self-defense class at a school in Bhopal reporter, Bhopal

January 24, 2013

An alarming number of violent attacks on women in Madhya Pradesh has prompted schools and colleges in the state to begin self-defense classes for female students.

Girls must be able to protect themselves in any emergency situation when immediate help from others might not be available, said JN Kansotiya, the state’s principal secretary for higher education.

Although not mandatory, the government has directed government educational institutions to make training in self-defense available to all their female students. Private schools are also providing classes.

According to sources, the government is contemplating making self-defense part of the curriculum for female students starting in the next academic year.

Students have welcomed the move, which comes in the wake of the national outcry over the recent gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi.

“These training sessions will not only help us learn self-defense techniques but also prepare us mentally to face an attack,” said Damini Singh Chandel, a student at Home Science college in Jabalpur district.

She said too many women submit to attacks and keep quiet afterwards because they fear losing their dignity and other stigmas in a society which more often than not blames the victims.

“But with attacks on women becoming increasingly violent, it has become necessary to equip women with the skills to take on those who take advantage of them,” she told

In its most recent report, the National Crime Record Bureau says Madhya Pradesh recorded 3,406 rape cases in 2011. This accounted for 14.1 percent of the total number of rapes nationwide.

Some 10.6 percent of the victims were under 14, while 19 percent were teenagers.

In the first 10 months of last year, the state recorded 2,868 rapes, around 255 of them gang rapes.

Twenty women were murdered after being raped, while 26 others later committed suicide.

In addition to self-defense classes, the government has also set up a special helpline to make it easier for women to report attacks. It says it is also setting up fast-track courts to try cases of rape against women within a stipulated 60 day time frame.

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