With girls becoming more conscious and vigilant about their safety after the Delhi gang-rape, some are turning towards training in self-defence techniques. Some colleges are conducting short-term training programmes in these techniques.

A non-Government organisation is providing training in self-defence to college students free of cost.

‘Pudumaipenngal’ conducted by Aram Foundation Charitable Trust at first teaches about various situations a girl has to face, and a workshop is organised for self-defence techniques. Nearly 5,000 students of PSGR Krishnammal College for Women are participating in it.

The training began on February 4 and will go on till February 22. It is being done in batches of 50 each. The awareness session includes creating awareness on abuse by known people and strangers, and techniques to be adopted to remain vigilant.

Dorai Sundaram, Counsellor and Mentor, Wesley Mission, Australia, who handles the session, says that the students are taught to identify whether they are being abused through certain symptoms.

“Abuse can be sexual, psychological, or physical. When the victim believes that she is being abused, then it is abuse. If this is not handled carefully with professional care, sometimes they carry the guilt to the grave. They are also taught not to misuse abuse, in the sense when there is no instance of abuse, they should not use it to settle scores with someone they do not like,” he says.

The Trust uses its chief martial arts trainer K. Vijay Raj to train the students in self-defence. He has come up with 10 basic techniques that girls can master to safeguard themselves when under attack. Students say it is “a great experience.” S. Suryabharathi, a third year student, says that though the training and the sessions are very useful, it is the techniques they are taught are the most helpful. Being vigilant is half the bridge crossed and in most cases will not require the girl to use self-defence techniques, she says.

Latha Sundaram, Managing Trustee of the Trust, says the programme has received good response and many more colleges have registered to take it up.

“We are giving it free of cost because money should not become a hurdle in girls taking up this programme. A booklet containing all the relevant details and the techniques being covered will be distributed to participants. Those who have queries and problems can visit www.aramfoundation.com and share the same there. We are also talking to the police to initiate a helpline,” she says.

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