Shattering Stereotypes: Prayatna Nepal's Self-Defense Training for Visually Impaired Women

Author: Jalasa Sapkota - Contact: Contact Details
Published: 2023/11/06
Peer-Reviewed: N/A - Publication Type: Informative
On This Page: Summary - Main Article

Synopsis: Jalasa Sapkota, a writer, researcher and disability rights activist, covers important points on self-defense training for visually impaired women. The harsh truth is that individuals with visual impairments frequently experience a disproportionate level of vulnerability, with women, in particular, confronting an elevated threat of sexual assault. Acknowledging the significance of self-defense as a fundamental right, Prayatna Nepal has initiated a pivotal program.

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Main Digest

In a world that relies heavily on visual cues, the challenges faced by visually impaired women are manifold. Navigating daily life can be a complex and sometimes perilous task, with safety concerns looming large. Among the myriad challenges, the heightened vulnerability to sexual assault underscores the urgent need for tailored empowerment strategies. One such powerful tool is self-defense training, a key component in fostering resilience, self-confidence, and independence among visually impaired women.

The harsh truth is that individuals with visual impairments frequently experience a disproportionate level of vulnerability, with women, in particular, confronting an elevated threat of sexual assault. Everyday activities, such as navigating unfamiliar environments, crossing busy streets, or merely walking home, transform into potentially perilous undertakings. Acknowledging the significance of self-defense as a fundamental right, Prayatna Nepal has initiated a pivotal program. From November 2nd to November 6th, 2023, the organization conducted a comprehensive five-day self-defense training program specifically tailored for 12 visually impaired girls as part of its Pinour initiative.

The training sessions, facilitated by seasoned professionals in the field, provided comprehensive instruction encompassing a diverse array of topics. The curriculum seamlessly integrated theoretical principles with practical applications, focusing on the development of both soft skills and hard skills techniques.

Throughout the training, participants gained insights into the broad spectrum of Sexual Violence, delving into the theoretical and practical aspects of self-defense. Emphasis was placed on understanding the concepts and characteristics distinguishing Good Touch from Bad Touch, as well as equipping individuals with the tools to peacefully navigate uncomfortable situations.

The program also explored the intricate dynamics of fear within the context of sexual assault and instilled a heightened sense of Situational Awareness. A unique aspect of the training involved the introduction of color-coded threat awareness, shedding light on the importance of Cyber Security Awareness in today's digital landscape.

One notable segment of the training focused on utilizing the White cane as a defensive tool to avoid violence, showcasing innovative approaches to personal safety. By addressing these multifaceted aspects, the training aimed to empower individuals with a comprehensive skill set, fostering a proactive approach to personal security and well-being.

Conceptual Clarity

Sexual Violence:

Sexual violence refers to any act or attempted act involving unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact or behavior. It encompasses a wide range of physical, verbal, or psychological behaviors intended to coerce, manipulate, or force someone into sexual activities against their will. Sexual violence can occur in various contexts, including intimate relationships, workplaces, schools, and communities.

Examples of sexual violence include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity. It is a serious violation of an individual's autonomy, dignity, and basic human rights.

Four signs of sexual violence:

What is self-defense?

Self-defense refers to the actions that an individual takes to protect themselves, their property, or others from harm. It is a fundamental right recognized in many legal systems worldwide. The concept acknowledges that individuals have the right to use reasonable force when faced with a threat of violence or harm.

Self-defense can take various forms, including physical force, verbal communication, or the use of non-lethal weapons. The key principle is that the response should be proportionate to the threat faced. Laws regarding self-defense vary by jurisdiction, outlining circumstances under which a person can use force to protect themselves or others.

Physical Session

General overview:

Before starting any hard training, participants were taught to do warm-up and cardio, followed by breathing exercises. Practical techniques were then taught to each participant, emphasizing the use of their voice as a self-defense weapon to seek help and respond confidently.

Save our Soul (SOS) Block:

Participants were practically taught to protect their most sensitive parts and retaliate against any violence or threats through palm strike and knee strike techniques.

Good Touch VS Bad Touch:

In the context of self-defense for visually impaired individuals, including women, the concepts of "good touch" and "bad touch" are crucial for understanding and responding to physical interactions. These terms are often used to teach individuals, especially those with visual impairments, about personal boundaries and recognizing potentially harmful situations.

Good Touch:

Good touch refers to physical contact that is appropriate, consensual, and non-threatening. It includes gestures such as a handshake, a pat on the back, or a hug between friends or family members.

Bad Touch:

Bad touch refers to any physical contact that is inappropriate, unwelcome, or feels uncomfortable. It includes actions that may be harmful, threatening, or violate personal boundaries.

How to navigate uncomfortable situations peacefully:

The training also emphasized providing participants with insights on handling challenging situations with a calm and composed approach. Firstly, it is crucial not to resort to aggression or issue additional threats, as this can escalate tensions further. Secondly, refraining from presenting extra challenges is essential to maintain a constructive dialogue and prevent the situation from worsening. Lastly, it is advised not to dismiss the issue if the person exhibiting inappropriate behavior is someone close or familiar, as addressing such concerns is vital for establishing healthy boundaries and fostering a respectful environment.

Concept of Fear in the Context of Sexual Assault

The training addressed the concept of fear in the context of sexual assault, encompassing both theoretical and practical aspects. Participants were educated on the instinctive responses of fight, flight, but notably, the freeze response was also emphasized.

The importance of prioritizing escape over confrontation with the perpetrator was underscored, recognizing the nuanced dynamics of such situations. The training delved into the intricate interplay of physical responses, mental reactions, and physiological responses that individuals may experience during a sexual assault.

In addition to addressing the immediate responses to fear, the session also delved into the significance and benefits of incorporating meditation practices as a means to mitigate mental stress. Participants were enlightened on the transformative impact of meditation in fostering resilience and emotional well-being in the aftermath of traumatic events.

Concept of Situational Awareness

When many people think about self-defense, they visualize the physical aspects, the punches and kicks. When we teach self-defense, one learns that there are many aspects of self-defense. We teach that the last thing one does to stay safe is to fight. In our opinion, the most important technique in self-defense is one that everyone should participate in on a continuous basis. Situational Awareness - simply being aware of your surroundings - is the cornerstone of self-defense and the base of the threat pyramid.

Color Codes of Threat Awareness

The late Jeff Cooper, USMC retired, developed a system that described the different possible levels of awareness based on color. Cooper's Color Codes of Awareness are divided into 5 possible categories, white, yellow, orange, red and black. Level white is one that no one should ever be in. If you are in level white, you are not aware at all in what is going on around you. You are totally unprepared in the event someone attacked. We often refer to this as "Facebook" level of awareness in honor of those people walking around with their faces glued to their phones on Facebook, texting or other social media. Code Level Yellow is where we should be most of the time. In Level Yellow we are aware of our surroundings. We are prepared but relaxed. In Level Orange, we have determined that there is a possible threat and are prepared to act. In Level Red, we are involved in an emergency and our focus is on dealing with that emergency. Besides the event we are engaged in, a secondary danger is that because our focus is so intensely on this event, we may not see other possible dangers approaching, i.e. friends of an initial attacker. In Color Code Black, we panic, freeze and shut down. This is the worst possible state.

By being aware of who is around you and what is happening at all times, one's chances of staying out of trouble are increased significantly.

Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber Security Awareness focuses on educating individuals and organizations about the importance of safeguarding digital information and systems from cyber threats. It encompasses understanding potential risks, adopting secure practices, and being vigilant against online threats such as phishing, malware, and data breaches. By promoting awareness, users can contribute to a more secure online environment and protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. Training and education play a crucial role in empowering people to recognize and respond to cyber threats effectively, ultimately enhancing overall cybersecurity posture.

Step for Cyber Security Awareness:

Using a White Cane as a Weapon to Avoid Violence

Extension of Personal Space:

Blocking and Striking Techniques:

Disorientation and Distraction:

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Prayatna Nepal's self-defense training program for visually impaired women has not only addressed the unique challenges faced by this marginalized group but has also shattered stereotypes surrounding their capabilities. The participants entered the program with high expectations, seeking to build confidence, enhance self-defense skills, train others, and move through the world with a newfound sense of security.

Before the training, the participants expressed a desire to learn how to be mentally prepared, use their voices as weapons, and transform risky situations into opportunities to demonstrate strength and self-confidence. After the intensive five-day program, these expectations were not only met but exceeded, as the participants emerged with a comprehensive skill set and a proactive approach to personal security.

The training not only covered physical techniques but also delved into the theoretical aspects of self-defense, including understanding the dynamics of sexual violence, distinguishing between good touch and bad touch, and addressing the concept of fear in the context of sexual assault. The participants gained valuable insights into situational awareness, recognizing potential threats, and employing the color-coded threat awareness system in their daily lives.

The unique incorporation of the white cane as a defensive tool showcased innovative approaches to personal safety. Participants learned to extend their personal space, block and strike with the cane, and use disorientation and distraction techniques to create opportunities for escape. This holistic approach to self-defense has empowered visually impaired women with the skills and knowledge to navigate the world confidently.

Reflecting on their experiences, participants noted a significant transformation in their confidence levels, expressing a newfound ability to tackle various forms of violence. They highlighted the importance of the program in not only imparting practical self-defense skills but also instilling a sense of empowerment and resilience. The participants now feel better equipped to face the challenges of daily life, walk anywhere with confidence, and contribute to the safety and well-being of their communities.

Jalasa Sapkota is a writer, researcher and disability rights activist.

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Cite This Page (APA): Jalasa Sapkota. (2023, November 6). Shattering Stereotypes: Prayatna Nepal's Self-Defense Training for Visually Impaired Women. Disabled World. Retrieved December 9, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/self-defense-training.php

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