Published: 19th June 2019
Here's how Srilekha and Monica are helping girls in Hyderabad stay safe from sexual assault
The duo have delivered sessions at Malla Reddy Engineering College and are currently planning to approach schools as well
I was coming back from office and one guy just wouldn't stop following me, I yelled at him in a crowded place so that he would stop," said Monica Hepsiba William Bolledula to which Srilekha Ponnapalli added, "I haven't experienced anything like that, but surely I have been cat-called on the streets." And these are the kind of conversations three women tend to have nowadays in the context of rising eve-teasing cases against women because every one of us has a story to be told wherein we have been harassed or eve-teased. "Until we don't act we will suffer," says 24-year-old Monica. And the action that these two girls have taken is that they deliver self-defense classes at colleges and companies.
Both of them are friends and sweet girls who are dedicated to winning more and more medals for the country
Now how these girls met and developed this bond is quite a story. They were both training under Grand Master Jayanth Reddy at Infinio Taekwondo World in Hyderabad and this year, they even set a record for striking the maximum number of martial arts kicks by a pair in a minute. "Setting records helps us get the attention of prospective sponsorers which will financially help us compete in international tournaments," explains 23-year-old Srilekha. Both have competed at prestigious tournaments like CK Classic International Open Taekwondo Championship, Malaysia and Korea-India Friendship Competition and have won medals. They wish to compete more and more internationally and probably one day, win medals for the country at the Olympics as well. "These records also motivate other girls to come forward and set their own records," they both opine.
Two good girls: The girls have set an amazing new record | (Pic: Srilekha Ponnapalli)
Apart from motivating other women, the duo also wanted to make them stronger and brave enough to face the world. "We don't just show them self-defense techniques, we teach every move in the context of a scenario, like if they are teased in a bus, what should they do and so on," describes Srilekha, who recently completed her final year from PRR Law College. In their sessions, they show the participants how it's done by delivering basic punches and kicks. They also leave a lot of time towards the end for the several doubts that the audience usually has. Till date, they have delivered sessions at HDFC Bank, Qualcomm, Bharti Airtel and they have even conducted a special session for the wife of army jawans.
They want to do more in terms of teaching self-defense at educational institutions
But what if a girl is physically not strong enough than the person eve-teasing her? Monica, who graduated from St Daniel's Degree College, explains, "It doesn't matter. Every person, no matter how strong, has their weak points which are eyes, nose, back of the neck and groin." They both agree that timing is everything and that when you time your attack correctly, half of the job is done. They also warn us that eve-teasing mostly happens in moving buses and crowded areas. "I really don't understand the motive behind a few men troubling women like this, what do they get out of it. Is it purely for fun or is there a reason?," ruminates Srilkeha and to that, none of us have a reply.
Note the pointers
Tips to keep in mind while dealing with assaulters:
- Don't challenge or infuriate the attacker
- Go for the sensitive parts
- Time your attacks sensibly
- Scream loudly for help if in public
- Use your dupatta or scarf to suffocate the attacker