For Janki Goud, the threat of physical violence has long loomed large.
In the state of Madhya Pradesh in northern India, where Goud lives, crimes against women are the most common. The region accounted for 4,882 of the 38,947 cases of sexual assault cases reported nationally in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
“We started self-defence and judo because the women living in this area with disabilities expressed so much fear that they could face abuse and attacks if they traveled unaccompanied outside their homes,” said Jayashree Kumar, Sightsavers program manager in Madhya Pradesh.
Goud, 23, is one of more than 8 million blind people in India, according to the international nongovernmental organization Sightsavers. Women and girls with disabilities face increased risk of sexual violence in India.
But Goud says judo has transformed her life.
Goud is one of 200 women to benefit from a project providing judo and self-defense training by international nongovernmental organization Sightsavers, since it began in 2014.
“In my village, I did not have any problems because of my blindness,” Goud said through an interpreter. “But when I go to the neighborhood around, my movements are restricted. Then, when nobody is with me and I can’t see, some people try to take advantage of that opportunity.“
“I only started judo training for self-defense,” she said. “That was the main aim of the program. I didn’t have much knowledge in self-defense of judo when I started. The instructor motivated me and people like me who can’t see.”
Instructors were specially trained to teach girls with visual impairment, using physical touch and sounds, such as claps, as well as clear, easy to understand instructions, according to Sightsavers.
“The specially designed training program organized with the help of the Department of Crime Against Women and Madhya Pradesh police helped us build confidence in the visually impaired girls,” said Rakesh Singh of Tarun Sanskar, a local organization that works to empower women with disabilities in collaboration with Sightsavers.
It’s always good to see anyone take their safety and self defense into their own hands. There are many options out there. From Jiu Jitsu and Judo to Krav or other disciplines, we here at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club encourage every person to learn self defense.
(Curated Article: CNN)
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.