Self Defense Class in Session

A video report by GlobalPost shows how a group of grandmothers in Nairobi, Kenya have begun taking self-defense classes in an effort to protect themselves from sexual assault.  According to the report,  Kenya has experienced an increase in sexual violence in recent years and “almost 20 percent of reported rapes in Kenya’s capital city involv[ed] women over the age of 60 last year.”

This reality led Sheila Kariuki to organize karate classes for older women in 2007.  She says: “at first when we were starting with the grannies, I would say they were fearing…they were kind of, ‘Karate for us? No, that’s for young people.”  She then adds that: “when we sat down with them and showed them that these were simple techniques, they took up the training…and now it’s three years down the line, and they will faithfully come to the class and they are willing to learn.”

According to the participants in the class, views about the frailty and lack of sexual activity of older women lead would-be rapists to see them as attractive targets.  They conclude that, because they are frail,  older women will not be able to easily resist sexual assault, and that the perpetrator is unlikely to get infected with HIV as a result of the assault.  However, this video shows that older women can defend themselves and have an important role to play in society.

Click on the link below and take a few minutes to watch the video report and share your thoughts with IAHSA.  Are you aware of other cases where older women are targeted because of their age? In addition to self-defense classes, what else can be done to prevent this situation?

Video: Kenya’s Kickboxing Grannies

For more information:

The Huffington Post