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The Telegraph
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| Thursday, September 5, 2013 |

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Fight back

With the rise in crimes against women, it is important to know what to do if you are attacked. Here are two techniques you can use to fend off molesters

Our cities have become very unsafe for women. While this is prompting many students to take up martial arts for self defence, remember that you have to train for months, if not years, before you are able to fend off an attacker. Some educational institutions, and even a few corporate offices, are now organising self-defence classes for their women employees. Pranadhika Sinha Devburman, who is a rape survivor, recently held such a workshop at Apeejay School along with her trainer Dave Chakraborty. They train girls in various forms of martial arts, including judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This month they will also begin free once-a-week classes at Presidency University.

"There's a definite need for training that can teach real-world self-defence (verbal, physical, and psychological) that actually works," says Chakraborty.

Chakraborty also teaches verbal techniques that a woman can use to keep a fun night club flirtation from getting out of hand, or a relative from crossing the line.

However, only physical training is of no use unless accompanied by mental preparation. "You can't execute even basic self defence techniques if you're panicking. Many victims report being 'frozen' when a violent attack occurs. Learning to counter that panic and channel the energy into an effective defence is more a matter of the mind than the body," says Chakraborty.

So girls, please learn by heart the two techniques illustrated on the page and practise meditation. That will help you to develop the cool head necessary to fight back.

WEAPONS IN YOUR BAG

Deo spray: Spray it at the attacker's face; if it doesn't get into the eyes, the mouth and nose, he will be irritated by the smell. If you can, carry a bottle of pepper spray

Umbrella: You can smack the attacker with it. Newspapers and large water bottles do the trick as well

Nailfile: You can't actually stab someone with an inexpensive metal nailfile, but a couple of sharp jabs will let an attacker know that you mean business

Comb: The rat-tail or styling comb has a pointed edge, which is good for poking

Keys: Use them to stab someone or, if you have a large bunch of keys, throw it at the attacker's head. Jabbing the throat just below the Adam's Apple with keys, nailfile, or even fingers will render a person immobile for a few seconds, giving you the time to escape

Other items commonly found in bags that can be used to attack are hair pins/slides, safety pins, toothpicks and tweezers. The most common and effective tool is the ballpoint pen, which is easy to grip and very effective. It will also leave ink marks on the abuser in case he needs to be chased, caught, and identified!