Martial arts training is enabling young women aged 10 to 25 to empower themselves: to learn how to fight back in case they have to confront a sexual aggressor.
Since 2005, self-defence centres have sprung up throughout Egypt. By joining these groups, many girls are making a statement: if you try to abuse us, get ready for a fight.
“Learning these things is very important when you’re a girl. This is why we come to class! If somebody tries to abuse us, what are we going to do? Stay passive or fight back? Fight back of course,” says Nagla, 16, who regularly trains.
Asser lives in Cairo. Twice, young men have tried to grope her in the middle of the street. In her case the police stepped in, but other women aren’t always so lucky.
A recent survey conducted by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights revealed that 83% of Egyptian women claim to have endured this type of sexual assault at least once.
But there are signs that things could be changing: an Egyptian court recently sentenced a man to three years in jail for a similar offence.
But on the other hand - and despite her involvement in defending women’s rights - First Lady Suzanne Mubarak has always denied the true extent of this phenomenon.
Date created : 2009-03-08