In Madhya Pradesh, rape accounts for the majority of crimes against women.
According to the statistics, the region accounted for 4,882 of the 38,947 rape cases reported in the country, in 2016.
Living in such an environment is hard enough; add to that a physical disability and you have a nightmarish situation for girls.
To help them out, a nongovernmental organization Sightsavers started giving judo classes so that women could defend themselves in any such threat situation.
In an interview given to CNN, Jayashree Kumar, the program manager of Sightsavers in Madhya Pradesh, said:
We started self-defence and judo because the women living in this area with disabilities expressed so much fear that they could face abuse and attacks if they traveled unaccompanied outside their homes.
One of their students is Janki Goud.
Having lost her eyesight at the age of 5 after contracting measles, life has been anything but easy for Janki.
In my village, I did not have any problems because of my blindness. But when I go to the neighborhood around, my movements are restricted. Then, when nobody is with me and I can’t see, some people try to take advantage of that opportunity.
But learning judo changed everything for her.
When Janki was approached for the program in 2010, she was a shy girl who wouldn’t speak much.
Today, she is not only their unofficial spokesperson in the region but also trains other young judoka.
I only started judo training for self-defense. That was the main aim of the program. I didn’t have much knowledge in self-defense of judo when I started. The instructor motivated me and people like me who can’t see.
Judo is more than just a means of self-defence for her, now. She has become passionate about the sport.
Goud became national champion in blind judo in 2017 and followed it with a third place finish at the International Blind Sports Federation in Uzbekistan.
(People) thought I couldn’t do anything, (but now) my family is feeling good. This has changed my life.
The program provided many visually impaired women to find a new way to ‘look’ at things.
As pointed out by Jayashree Kumar, ‘98% of the rape cases are from people known to the person in question, and 25% of those are a neighbor’.
You’ve situations where they come out and have uncles and cousins that touch their bodies, and they don’t realize that was sexual abuse.
The training program aims to change that.
The specially trained instructors used physical touch and sounds to train these girl and make them more confident.
The lives of girls coming from these areas are difficult and learning judo has a given a new meaning to it.