by Mini Kolluri, Sakhi Media Intern ::
On the afternoon of September 6th, Sakhi survivors, staff, and volunteers gathered together to learn how to defend themselves against assault at a self-defense workshop organized by Sakhi.
The seven women, dressed in sportswear or loose jeans, were trained by Elizabeth Toder, a course leader at the National Outdoor Leadership School.
“It was a good workshop,” said Fatma Zahra, Domestic Violence Program Advocate, who organized the workshop and attended it. “We got some very useful information and learnt techniques that can be applied to a number of settings.”
Reshma Neebar, a Sakhi volunteer and a participant of the workshop, agreed and elaborated. “We learnt many things – how to use our arms, how to kick, how to bounce, what to do when someone chokes us and about the vulnerable parts of the attacker’s body.”
The session wasn’t all about physical toughness though. Mental toughness and preparedness were also stressed.
“We formed a circle and spoke about the importance of saying ‘no’,” Reshma said. “We learnt how to be assertive.”
Fatma added, “We were told that it’s not always appropriate to hurt the other person. Hurting the other person, in some situations, may escalate violence and worsen the situation.” Safety planning, Fatma said, was also emphasized.
The workshop left the women feeling empowered. “It’s the hands-on approach that made the session very beneficial and empowering,” Reshma said. “We could be in dangerous situations and this training would come in handy.”