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24 Jul, 2009 05:34

Indian women shape up to confront rapists

New Delhi has India’s highest frequency of crimes against women, including rape, but the females are fighting back.

The police say the number of attacks is declining, but there are still hundreds of cases every year.

New Delhi has long been considered India’s crime capital. Over 1,000 rape and assault cases were reported there last year. Not surprisingly, many parents are encouraging their daughters to join self-defense classes.

“Every single day you read the paper – you pick up the paper and you’re reading about rape here, rape there, 18-year old raped by two taxi guys,” says Anuradha Patni, mother of a young girl herself. “Every day! So I’m not saying that it will happen, but I’m saying that I need to be sure that we’re prepared for it, that’s all.”

Combat studios offer women self-defence training for $50 a month. With classes three times a week, Ultimate Tactical and Combat studio offers Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art which specializes in hand-to-hand combat.

“It gives people confidence to deal with threats. They’re educating themselves, because the police or people or parents cannot be with the girl, or child or women all the time,” says Vicky Kapoor, the Chief instructor of Krav Maga India.

The 22-year-old fashion merchandiser Avantika Chandra has been training for over a month. Now she finds her reflexes have improved, along with her confidence. Knowing that she can take care of herself allows her to live life without having to constantly look over her shoulder.

“It does build a lot of confidence to deal with the most common attacks,” says Avantika Chandra, “They teach you a lot of simple stuff. You just work on your reflexes and that will help anyone.”

More and more women in Delhi are choosing to protect themselves with self-defense training. With many young women now working long shifts and finishing at all hours, such classes will go a long way in making them feel secure in their own city.