Archive for November, 2012

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This is a Guest post by Gowrav Shenoy ( @gshny) who was one of the Hosts for our #Bangalore Self Defense workshop. It was conducted by ‘Dr. Safety’ Franklin Joseph, women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer.

I recently saw the post that the NGO called Justice for Women was hosting a self defense workshop for Women across the country. As a friend to the organizer i decided to help out in any ways i could. I was asked to host the workshop on behalf of Justice for Women in Bangalore today along with Nabeel. The workshop was conducted by Franklin Joseph, who is a women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer. Below are a few insights about the workshop.
Most of the attacks on Women are not targeted attacks. They are predators who look out for whom they can attack. For them the height, dress or looks do not matter, it is all about the body language. If you are alert then there is a 78% chance that you wont be attacked. As Frank pointed to us, anythings from cow dung to speeding car can be a threat.
Next question that may come to mind is, what if luck is not in your favor and you end up in the 22%. Frank tells us that when you are attacked, you still have 2 choices, you can either be the survivor or become the victim. The first move determines if we will survive to live another day. When approached keep eye contact with the other person and try to keep talking. The minute you panic, you let fear take over you and you end up being the victim. So how do you become a survivor?
Frank tells its not about height, strength or body that is important to protect yourself but its right use of mind and technique. He explained some very basic technique that uses the various laws of physics, so that by using minimum movements, maximum damage can be made to the attacker. He explained about pressure points in human body and which ones to use when under attacks. But all these that he explained were just as a defense so that you can plan your escape. He told that fighting does not do any good and that must be used as a last option. The technique that he taught everyone today were such that, the more force the attacker puts on you, the higher the risk of him breaking his own bones.
He explained how to escape if someone tries to grab your hands or tries to choke you or even holds a knife to your neck. The whole session can be summed up in the following words: Be Alert, Keep your hands freely so that you can defend, keep talking, if they try to grab you then make your move and scan the area for an escape. There was another session going on in parallel and they were kind enough to give us some really cool demos.
He told us that 92% of crime on women is done by someone whom they know. And around 45% of it is domestic violence. He concluded that women must stand up to her rights and show that she can fight back and wont be sitting quiet. Frank is really looking forward to organizing such workshops more often. I think we should have our friends/colleagues/relatives to attend these events when they are organized again.

 Story as told to Zena Costa (@zenacostawrites ) by Jemmy Gabra ( @GemmyGabra on twitter)


The Story of fourteen year old Sarrah begins 30 Sept., 2012 after she finished the school day, her family was waiting for her to return from school but she didn’t.  After a big search in the village (Dabaa-matroh-North west of Egypt ), they didn’t find her. After a while some salafis came to them telling that their child was married to one of them and became, so you don’t have to search her nor asking for even seeing her and they menace them hardly if they call the police…the family who had nothing to do to return their child went to call for the return of their child, as. the law of marriage in Egypt is 18 year for girls”, so after many attempts the minister of interior said to them that he had nothing to do in this case and the whole of thing is in the hand of the chief of Salafis Yasser el borhamy- Yasser el borhamy is one of the greatest chief of salafis in Egypt if he isn’t the greatest he said many times that any girl can be married if she would have only 9 yo and even less by Quran. 

Birth certificate of Sarrah 

So the family provided the government and media the birth certificate of Sarrah that prove she had 14 yo (born on August 1 1998), after hard sessions finally the case gone to some media, and in a talk show the representative of salafis in this case said that Sarah wont return back and girls can be married if they were 9 yo, the human rights organisation in Germany denounces the kidnapped and rape of Sarah in their report, also many reports them in Egypt, So After more than month west Alexandria AG orders in November 3 the arrest of sarrah’s kidnapper Mahmoud Seleem 28 a Salafi in Matrouh  but the government doesn’t proceed till this date, Sarrah is now kidnapped for more than 40 days and could be rapped several times in a great silent of Egyptian society, politician and media…

German human Rights organisation denounce the kidnap and rape of sarrah :

Guest post by Himanshu Gupta, city director of  Yuva Unstoppable, a volunteer based organization focussed on empowering youth for a better tomorrow.

Nanhi si pari

Paida hoke woh giri,

Woh pyare se hath,

Jisko diya na kisi ne sath.

Woh Maa ka anchal,

Jo kar deta usko chanchal.

Woh chote se per,

Jisko kara sabne gaer.

Woh uska pehla kadam

Jismein ayi mushkil hardam.

Woh nanhi se jaan

Jisko kiya sabne bahut pareshan.

Woh Bapu ka saya

Jismein har waqt andhera hi kyun usne paya?

Woh meethe se sapne

Jisme ban gaye ab khuni hi apne.

Usne us waqt ek sawal uthaya

Jispe sab ne usko kar diya paraya

Sawal jo usne kiya:

“Hey bhagwan!

Mene khole jab ye nayan

To tha sab rangeen.

Jab hui thodi badi

To kya kara mene sangeen?

Rishto ne hi mera mujhse sab kyun china?

Maa ka anchal aur baap ka saya

Kyun le aya mere jeevan me andhera?

Kyun karta hai tu peida humein e insaan?

Jaha ghol diya sharafat ki aad mein shaiton ka ye aasman

Kya guna mene kiya ye ling paake?

Badan se nhi uthi hai nazar auro ki mere is duniya mein ake.

Na rishto ka moh hai na duniya ye rangeen,

Kya astitva paya

Kya kara mene sangeen?

Tadap tadap roke maine bitaya har pal.

Ghut-ghut marke mene jiya har kal.

Yaadon ki nagri mein

Basa woh andhera

Ae Bhagwan! kyun tu us mandir mein betha?

Jaha tera khud ka na hai basera

Jaha tera khud ka na hai basera..”

Franklin Joseph, women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer.

There is a lack of awareness about self-defense among women in India. We asked some questions to Franklin Joseph, our workshop organizer in Bangalore, and this is what we learnt out of it.

1. What is self-defense?

Franklin: Self Defense: Concept is Still Stuck in Stone Era. To most people, Self Defense still means Martial Arts or tricks taught in Martial Arts. Some crime against women is reported and few women join free self-defense classes. After a while everyone forgets and life is back to ‘normal’. Sadly, everyone actually believes that by ignoring this issue, it would never happen to me.

2. Why is Self Defense important?

FJ: National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, India has reported around 24,206 rape cases in past year and it itself has increased 826% percent since 1971. But nobody worries about 99,135 reported crime, ‘Cruelty by husbands and relatives’, 42,968 molestation cases, 35,565 Kidnapping and Abductions cases etc. 92% of time these crimes against women are committed by men they already know.

Can a 6 years girl raped by her step-father punch and kick her way out of the her nightmares?

Can a wife being raped by her husband do a round kick to escape her marriage?

Can an 85 years old lady wearing a sari throw his young more powerful rapist off her fragile body?

Can a 16-year-old college girl do a fist-fight with a group of men eve-teasing her without the fear of being a acid-victim tomorrow?

Punches and Kicks DO NOT solve real life problems. We are so in-tuned to movie magic that we think the good guy would walk away with the girl after having a fist fight with the bad guys, that we start believing it to be real.

3. What is your opinion on women being known as the “weaker sex?”

FJ: Most of the men I have talked to are amazed that some or most women do not, could not or would not fist-fight with the bad guy if there is a threat. Naturally, they said they associated lack of violence in women directly to the lack of physical strength and so-called them the ‘weaker sex’.

Sadly, most women also considered themselves as weaker than men especially when it comes to size, strength, fitness, flexibility etc.

We men planted these thoughts in women’s mind the day we as fathers tell them they have to be good daughters and take care of the family’s ‘shobha.’ We taught them to doubt their size and strength when we as brothers we were allowed to do anything while our vulnerable sisters were told to stay protected inside the house. We as parents never encouraged physical training in girls as it would make them less feminine or turn their skin dark making them un-eligible for marriage and so forth.

So interesting in one area, we as men tell them you cannot, you should not or you would not do it due to the limitations of your age, size, strength, fitness and flexibility. We as a society plant these insecurities in them and on other hand, we expect women to fight back the attacker who might be bigger and stronger than them.

And if she does not, oh means she gave consent. Let’s blame the victim! Easy!

4. Is physical fitness important to learn self-defense? If so, why?

FJ: Now, understand fist-fighting with someone means you need strength, size, fitness, stamina, flexibility & skill-set to emerge a winner every-time. That is why Tony Jaa, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan do not have pot belly or weight issues. They have invested more than a decade training in their respective martial arts.

What will a 6 years old girl do against a grown up man?

Or a 20 years old against a group of men?

Does a 40-year-old mother survive against a robber?

Or an 85-year-old lady against a younger attacker?

I have met so many women in my ‘Power to Women Workshops’ who said they have slapped the eve-teaser and that solution worked for them and they would slap again as they want to teach them a lesson because they do not want these guys to repeat the same with other women. I fully agree. You must retaliate, but my worry is that retaliation must not turn into violent provocation. Most of these Eve-Teasers, molesters and rapists are Juvenile delinquents / Criminals who have no respect for the system, law or women and they won’t hesitate to get violent. So the question comes, what will you do if the situation goes out of control where he turns violent? If you can handle that, then by all means do what you do best.

I know I am not giving too much to hope till now, but trust me, if women self-defense was just few tricks of martial arts, the crime rate against women should have decreased by now. Sadly, like other things in life – love, marriage, jobs etc, crime is also a complicated living entity that is ever-evolving.

5. How can you ensure safety of women?

FJ: That is why I created Franklin Joseph’s Power to Women Workshops, to help educate the real side of life regarding Women Safety Awareness, Women Self Defence and Women Psychological Empowerment against Crime, Violence and Sexual Abuse. Before explaining on this, let’s handle one more issue when it comes to self-defense.

6. How can your workshops help women?

FJ: Power to : Women Safety Awareness, Israeli Krav Maga Women Self Defence and Women Psychological Empowerment against Crime, Violence and Sexual Abuse

I am not just a martial artist who has a diploma authorising me to teach Self Defense. Because by just being a trainer, I am basically teaching women how to do what a man should do under threat – use his strength, size, fitness, age, flexibility and skill-set to teach the bad guy a lesson without worrying about the consequence.

In one of the videos I watched on the net, the tactic shown was the victim must search the attacker for weapons pretending to faint or having a epilepsy attack and while the victim is held by the attacker, he/she should use his/her hands to search his pockets or waist for hidden knives and use his/her legs to search for knives hidden under his socks. Then the victim should grab him by his clothes and do a judo throw over-coming his/her threat. Brilliant, Search for weapons and over-throw your threat.

Only issue is if the attacker is a man and the victim is a women and the threat is molestation… imagine the women fainting into his arms while she is groping his waist and pockets rubbing her legs against his legs. God, what a slut, molesting the molester! Oops! I am sure someone would take a fatwa against me now!

7. Tell us something about your history with self-defense.

FJ: Jokes apart, its time to re-evaluate the problem of crime, violence and sexual abuse against women and how Self Defense is taught and understood by women in India. My history with self defense is briefly listed below:

  • Born in slums of New Delhi, I gained in-sight of crime modus operandi and criminal mindset along with life-time real-life street combat experience
  • After 11 years after working as a IT-Creative Director, I turned into a Social Entrepreneur & Motivational Speaker to listen and share what I learned in my life.
  • From 1986, started researched and educated myself on Safety Empowerment to help me heal and elevate myself from my own sexual abuse and violent past.
  • From 1995 onwards, I worked, researched and designing module on Women Safety Empowerment by living or researching with women with abusive past or trauma.
  • From 2003, as a Krav Maga Israeli Self Defense instructor I gained vast experience in corporate workshops and tactical training with military, police & special forces.
  • From 2008 onward, started conducting & specialising on ‘’ and ‘’ workshops focusing on women empowerment from within.

8. Could you give us a brief on your workshops?

FJ: Main highlight of Power to Women Workshops are:

  • Workshops are designed with inputs from a Woman Psychologist as well as victims of trauma and workshop participants.
  • Use of Krav Maga, Israeli Self Defense neuromuscular Re-Education Tactics to help Prevention, Avoidance and Escape of Threats.
  • Incorporates neuroscience Positive Emotions and Intervention tactics to stabilize and raise one’s level of DHEA-a “I-have-the-power” hormone.
  • Re-designs Psychological Resilience response which enhances an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity.
  • Self-realization of your own physical power – you are ready to survive irrespective of your size, strength or fitness level.
  • Awareness of latest crimes and Understanding a predator’s game plan and how to defeat it
  • Recognize Pre-Conflict Indicators and be Aware of Post-Conflict Dangers
  • Pre-Assault Situation Awareness and Conflict Prevention from being chosen a victim via attitude, body posture etc.
  • Survival Mindset – How to diffuse fear and bring in courage
  • Stress Management – performing effectively under pressure where personal danger is very real
  • Risk reduction – Verbal Confrontational and Diffusing Exercises against Eve-teasing, Office Sexual harassment etc.
  • Risk avoidance – against domestic violence, kidnapping and sexual abuse

9. Which forms of Self Defense are useful for women and where to learn it from?

FJ: Women must force the So-called women self-defense experts to think like women: They should advise women what to do, only if they have understood the root-cause from women’s point of view and the solution would treat her like a living breathing person who has to live with her choice and the consequence of her choice rather than a client who will just pays the fees.

Women who wish to get trained by just anyone who claims and throws some names around, remember he is just teaching you a male dominant view-point forced on women trauma. So you should….

  1. Train with any martial arts, Train with any self-defense, but do not train blindly gulping whatever half-cooked knowledge he throws at you.
  2. Ask questions, use your common sense and give a realistic problem for him/her to solve. Force him to think about your welfare instead of just thinking about his next fees. Give him real life limitation like what if the victim is 6-year-old, or 87-year-old, then can she do the same tricks / tactics?
  3. Research on the information you learn, question yourself, try that in a more realistic scenario where you are in pain or in fear of your life and see if it still works and will it take care of the any future consequences of your choice to fight. If not, find an alternative method.

10. What has been your experience training with women so far?

FJ: I have conducted many Power to Women Workshops and I have always been amazed by the inner strength of the women – her size, her determination, her level of fitness, her will to protect her loved ones, her wisdom and her flexibility to be a confident professional, housewife and a family member. My aim in my workshops is just to show her that she does not need any tricks to realise that she is a tigress instead of a rabbit and never-not even by the remotest degree – a weaker sex.


P.S. Justice For Women has organized free-of-cost self-defense workshop in collaboration with Franklin Joseph in Bangalore on 17-18 November, 2012. For more information, contact us on

Guest post by Paloma Sharma, student and writer at Going Bananas
I flip through a women’s magazine on the stand (while the stall owner has been lulled into steady sleep by the hot, lazy afternoon) and I have to admit that I’m highly amused. I’ve never read one of these things before. But something about the glossy images, posh advertisement and suave colors makes me queasy.
Perhaps I feel uncomfortable because I find that this ‘women’s magazine’ has absolutely nothing to do with real, actual women. Honestly, it looks more like a catalogue for dolls and their accessories. Occasionally, I come across a male model that bears an eerie resemblance to Ken. That’s when I realize something – something shocking, probably path breaking and even blasphemous.
Women’s magazines are not women’s magazines. They’re as far away from being woman-friendly as water is from being combustible. Basically, this is what these ‘women’s magazines’ really are: of misogynists, by misogynists, for women.
I know this may sound like a radical feminist tirade against all the things you hold sacred in this world, especially if you’re a subscriber to one such magazine. So do yourself a favor and run down to your nearest newspaper stall or pick up the first thing under the women’s section. (God knows why we don’t just have a people’s section. Stereotype, much?) Observe the first thing that you see on the cover – a famous, glamorous, long-legged and ample-breasted woman who’s stock in show biz has recently gone up thanks to a new movie/album she has coming out.
If you’re done with being in awe of her striking (read: Photoshop-ed) features, take a look at the words, which seem only secondary, around her. They probably resemble one of these sentences:
’10 Things That Will Drive Him Wild’
‘Revenge Is Best Served Hawt!’
‘From Flab to Fab in Six Weeks’
Did those words, minus the polished images, make your head hurt? Did you pull your hair out with your own two hands and scream out loud, “WHAT SORCERY IS THIS!?!”?
I did.
But don’t give up yet. Get to the first page, beyond the Contents section. Have you seen a pale or deliberately whitened, swallow-boned creature with an empty expression, pouting lips and a perfectly straight nose yet? Yes, that one. Now flip through the magazine randomly. You’ll find them everywhere, like a fungal infestation upon a young sapling – some will be known, other’s just forgettable faces – but they will all have one thing in common: they will be taller, thinner and whiter than the average woman.
Don’t believe me?
Ok, then, take your nose out of that magazine and look around you. Look at the women you see. Do they even remotely resemble the women in the magazine in your hands? Unless you’re back stage or at a movie producer’s office, the answer is going to be a big, fat NO!
Remember when you randomly flipped through the magazine and looked at all the women spread out across the pages? Try to recall their clothes. Yeah I know, big brands, huh? Don’t forget the impossibly high heeled shoes! Yes, those are a must-have for your daily travel from Virar to Churchgate via the jam-packed local train and potholed roads lacking proper sidewalks. Or if you’re a stay-at-home spouse/mother, those heels are obviously going to do wonders for your spine (an irreplaceable part of your anatomy).
Don’t forget to check the gossip column, since we women so obviously love to while our time away, gossiping merrily, finding out whose boyfriend slept with whom and which starlet has fake breasts (or worse, a fake nose!). Clearly women have no interest in knowing what’s going on around the world, which politician supported a ban on mobile phones for girls and who’s the jerk trying to take away their right to own their bodies.
Yes, my friend, that abomination of a compilation of words you hold in your hand is a women’s magazine. It claims to represent women. It goes as far as saying that it is for the modern woman and that it adds brains to the gloss. It will give you diet tips on how to eat a particular substance or even starve yourself but it will not tell you how to plan a complete meal and what kind of exercise is best for your body-type and age.
It will tell you what the latest style is and which designer is in but you probably won’t be able to either afford those clothes in the pictures or buy them.
It will give you snippets from an interview with the hottest celebrity in tinsel town but it will push back or maybe not even carry articles about real men and women, real role models like Rita Banerji, Nick Kristof, Somaly Mam or Malala Yousufzai and their struggles to make sure that girls and women (as well as the rest of society) are no longer silent, suffering victims of patriarchy.
This women’s magazine – which claims to be overflowing with new-age, feminine wisdom – will tell you how to doll up until you don’t look like you any more and what pubs to hit but it won’t give you self-defense tips (which 9 out of 10 men will recommend you learn) to escape the almost inevitable sexual assault that will come your way.
Your friendly, neighborhood (misogynistic) women’s magazine will take your pride and your self-esteem and turn it against you until the mirror is your worst enemy; and you – yes, you the subscriber will love it still and love it anyway, for you have sold out not only your brain but also your soul for a piece of super shined shit.
You may tell me that I shouldn’t expect a political or financial section in a women’s magazine. You may tell me to pick up a newspaper instead. But I will not. You don’t get to decide that women who like to take care of their hair and want real, relatable styles and tips for it (as I do) are a separate interest group from women who follow politics. You will not place me into stereotypes of ‘tomboy’ or ‘daddy’s girl’. You will not decide who I am and who I shall be.
I am me. A Woman. And I reject this magazine.