Some Nigerian women who have been victims of sexual assault are undergoing self-defence training in Lagos, to learn how to protect themselves when faced with similar issue.
The training, organised by Women Impacting Nigeria (WIN), brought together women of different backgrounds but similar story of assault and violence, who are being tutored by boxing coaches at no cost.
Adeola Olamide, one of the participants, said she decided to enroll to learn how to protect herself after being assaulted several times. “At least, I can protect myself and if I want to attack, I can attack quickly,” the mother of three told BBC.
The 35-year-old woman also spoke against the tradition of stigmatisation of women who choose to learn combat skills as a form of self-defence, noting she is ready to go against the status quo.
“It’s strange. Very, very strange to hear that a woman wants to defend herself if she finds herself in a position where she has to. Nobody is going to listen to that,” she said.
“They’ll only tell you that you are not being submissive as a woman. You know, they tell you that you are just, you’ve just become a feminist.”
Tope Imaskeha, WIN founder, noted the initiative was to provide a platform for those who have been sexually assaulted in the past to share their experiences together, while also learning how to defend themselves.
“It’s an alternative. It’s a new way of doing the whole sit around a circle and everybody tells their story because here you are meeting women who have experienced the same things that you have experienced,” she said.
“But some people are silent about it. Do you know what I mean? So you come here and you know, during the class, when you partner up in the examples that the teacher is giving, you can also share a few words, even after the class. It’s just like a silent unity.”
However, in August last year, Betty Akeredolu, wife of governor of Ondo state, had engaged the services of Taekwondo professionals to train young girls on self-defence against rapists.
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