The BBC reports that the attendance of Egyptian girls and women in martial arts training classes is on the rise.
“Instructor Redo Fathy says it is now incumbent on every woman to protect herself from the unwelcome advances of Egyptian men. ‘The girls face a lot of problems,’ he said. ‘Especially the teenagers that attend high school. Some of them have long distances to travel.’ …
‘I was on my way home from school and I was attacked – I didn’t know what to do,’ Shaza Saeed, 14, said. ‘But now I have learnt how to defend myself so I am not afraid any more. I think every girl should go to self-defense classes like this.’”
The startling survey results of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights and a high profile sexual harassment case last year has raised awareness about the issue. There’s even legislation under consideration in parliament that would make sexual harassment a crime and make it easier for women to report it.
“But the women in the karate class say it will require a more concerted effort from Egyptian society, and a backlash from men themselves, if they are to win on the street the honour and respect they are afforded in the dojo.”
Ditto that here in the U.S.
If you’re interested in taking a self defense class, check out the links on the right under “Self Defense Resources” or contact your local community center or YMCA/YWCA to see if they host any. I’m excited to attend my first self defense class through Defend Yourself on April 18 in Washington, DC. The focus is dealing with street harassers.