Self-defense programme ‘Defend Her’ launched as part of 16 Days of Activism

Scores of women joined in the Human Services and Social Security Ministry’s Defend Her self-defense training programme on Sunday.

Women engaging in the Defend Her training programme

The programme hosted at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary aims to arm women with the skills to protect themselves from violence.

The programme is the first of its kind and is part of the ministry’s 16 Days of Activism calendar of activities to eradicate gender-based violence against women and girls.

Women engaging in the Defend Her training programme

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud said self-defense training is a much-needed initiative to protect the country’s women.

“We [government] felt that it was important because I think that too many women are losing their lives, too many women are unprepared to defend themselves so we really needed to have an approach that was different,” she said.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud engaging participant

The activity is a collaboration between the ministry and Maxido Adult Self-Defense System. Through the programme women are taught six techniques to defend themselves from punch/slap, front choke, rear choke, cutlass chop, double wrist and single wrist attacks.

“It is about responding and defending yourself and being very disciplined about it, it is strictly self-defense…. I would like to believe that any one of these women can save their lives. I am hoping that this can mushroom out,” said Minister Persaud.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud

During the exercise, the instructor highlighted that every seven women who die out of ten, due to abuse, five could have been saved if they knew the techniques being administered.

In response, the minister said the government is working assiduously to eradicate violence in all forms against anyone, especially women and girls. To this end, the ministry launched a series of initiatives to provide support and shelter, to empower women to walk away from abusive relationships or environments. As the ministry commemorates 16 Days of Activism under the theme, Unite, let us engage to eradicate violence against women and girls, citizens are being informed of the effects of gender-based violence and the many governmental initiatives being offered.