THEME: Violence Against Women
Soroptimist Club of Viareggio-Versilia- Italy
The best self-defence strategies and techniques apply to both men and women. But women really do need them because they are statistically assaulted more often than men. These statistics indicate that one in three women will be victims of a violent attack during their lifetime. They also experience verbal and sexual harassment more frequently than their masculine counterpart. The reality is even more worrying for women with disabilities. This is where the Soroptimists of Viareggio-Versilia come in.
The Soroptimist Club organized (in collaboration with Italian Union Blind ETS-APS Section Lucca) the “First course of self-defence education for visually impaired and blind women” at the Yomesan Gym in Viareggio with karate Masters Stefano Tonelli and Mauro Gori. The aim of the project is to provide vulnerable women with physical and psychological preparation, so that they can defend themselves in case of aggression. The project is also meant to tackle the social problem of the vertiginous increase in petty crime, especially against the weakest categories such as blind/visually impaired women.
The initial rudiments of self-defence were taught through the use of martial arts, with a course of 10 lessons specially designed for these women to improve motor performance, a sense of personal safety, self-esteem, reflexes and psychophysical balance, in addition to meetings with psychologists and law enforcement agencies.
Establishing a growing relationship of friendship and creating a climate of community and trust were essential for the success of the project. This made the full development of the programme and its continuation in the future possible; indeed, the project was approved for to be continued in 2020!