The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Should Martial Arts Training be Mandatory for Girls?


Neetu Chandra, an Indian actress and model, is also a highly trained martial artist!

Rape is everywhere. Most girls (and boys) will have to face rape during their lifetimes. But what should we do about it? While changing our attitudes towards rape and rape victims is key to helping decrease sexual violence, we also have to change how we prepare children for such events. 

Neetu Chandra–an Indian film actress, model, and martial artist–is one of the advocates for not only changing our attitudes, but changing how we prepare young girls for a world that can become heartbreakingly violent. This week, responding to the many news stories about rapes in India, Chandra started a petition on Change.org to the Prime Minister of India.  This petition specifically requests that martial arts training be made a mandatory part of school for girls in grades 4 through 12.

As a woman who has faced rape and the horrors it can inflict on not only the victim but on her friends and family, I fully support this petition. While I have never taken martial arts courses, my sister did–and it made her a confident, secure person who knows that whether she's walking home from class late at night or browsing through shops at the mall, she can and will defend herself against any kind of attack. As Chandra states:
I am quite aware that it might not give them massy muscles and steel bone like men but what it will give to our girls is self-confidence, sense of security and willpower to fight back instead of surrendering meekly when shown a knife or a gun. It might also not give them training to use a gun or carry a knife but it will certainly give them voice to scream, teeth to bite and limbs to pack a punch on the face of her tormentor and bounce back when he is trying to force himself on her soft body.
Rape culture is everyone's business–whether it's in India, the U.K., the U.S., or even Antarctica. The important part for us is to not only advocate for a change in attitudes, but to also support changes that will better prepare girls to face violent situations and defend themselves. Only by supporting and advocating for a change in how we prepare girls for the world–for changes that will make girls healthier, stronger, smarter, and more self-confident–will we be able to change the culture of violence and gender bias that allows rape to be so prevalent.

-Tiffany Piotti
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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