Police in Nepal have started self-defence lessons in response to several cases of rape, sexual assau

Police in Nepal have started self-defence lessons in response to several cases of rape, sexual assault and an increase in sexual harassment in the camps. (Photo: Omishan Thapa)

The open field of Chabel, the north-east of Kathmandu is filled with tarpaulin tents.

All of these people are displaced due to the massive earthquake on April 25 and May 12, that destroyed nearly half a million houses.

Around 50 women have gathered in the open field in a large circle.

They are closely watching women police officers acting out an attack.

"When someone tries to pull you, force you, they will try hard and you also need to be strong to react. If you look weak, then it's a problem," explained police officer Pramila Khadka.

Police in Nepal have started these self-defence lessons in response to several cases of rape, sexual assault and an increase in sexual harassment in the camps.

"Today and yesterday we taught them different techniques to protect herself. Tomorrow I will teach them how to grab an enemy's neck and make him fall to the ground. Many women have also told us that their husband also pull their hair and beat them. We will teach them what you do when one pulls your hair,” explained Pramila.


The participants are then divided into pairs to practice.

21 year old Sajana Lama has been staying in the tent for a month after her rented room collapsed in Kathmandu due to earthquake.

Her home in Ramechhap district is also rubble.

"I felt I really needed to learn this. We are unsafe especially in the evening and night when we are alone. We have heard about rape and violence. Strange boys tease us and they try to touch us. Before, I always tried to avoid it and run. But now I know how to injury the person before I run,” she said.

Doctor Renu Adhikari is the chairperson of Women Rehabilitation Center.

Her team has been travelling to all 11 earthquake affected districts and helping women to be safe from possible violence.

“ The earthquake has added something but whole our societal value or mindset of the men who think that women body can be used as commodity is the reason for this one," she said.

At the training 30 year old Tashi Doma wants to know how to escape and run away.

She said she needs to do that every day at her home.

"At my home, my brother in law hits me, my husband hits me. I am living with pain. The training has given me the confidence. Now I think I can protect myself and and run away in time before I am injured more,” she said.
 

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