Nothing feels better than knowing that if all hell breaks loose you would be able to take care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically. While the first two are for another day, the latter can be gained through a well-conducted self-defense class.

Throughout the past few years, Egypt’s streets sadly haven’t been the most welcoming to women. Sexual harassment is on the rise, with a recent survey by the United Nations revealing that 99.3% of Egyptian women are sexually harassed; 96.5% of whom said the harassment was physical. So what can we as women do to help combat this behavior and the distorted views surrounding sexual harassment?

First, being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid a sexual harassment incident before it starts at all. Having a mind-set that allows you to constantly subconsciously think about where your attacker might be or where a good environment for him to attack will help you avoid putting yourself in risky situations in the first place. Avoiding scenarios where you are more likely to appear vulnerable, like empty streets or risky areas, is a basic tactic. Street awareness is extremely important in Cairo, though it can admittedly become quite exhausting in every day life.

So what’s the point in taking a self-defense class?-

To help you develop a fighter’s reflex. Instead of waiting for your predator to make his next move, you learn to respond quickly and correctly. This is not a debate on the strength you believe you do or don’t have, it’s about programming your instinct to not be afraid, and that in itself adds a lot of power to your physical capabilities.

Being appropriately physically conditioned to address an attack situation is extremely important, and that is exactly what a class of this nature will help you do as well. An intense warm-up for fitness generally comes first, followed by learning various defense techniques. Women usually have stronger lower bodies than most men, and most self defense classes like to utilize this statistic to help women learn to use their lower bodies so they can overcome their potential attackers.

Through attending a self-defense class at WENDO in Rofayda Health Park we also learned other techniques for defending ourselves that cater to every woman. Not only did we learn physical moves for defense, but other aspects like creating a confident attitude, finding your voice and using assertive body language. Below is a photo from the class we attended, courtesy of Nermine Amr.

Nermine here is practicing “Below the Belt” self-defense move… and she’s obviously blowing some steam in the process! The most important thing the WenDo instructors stressed on today is that we should assess the situation first and take action accordingly based on the level of threat. Fighting back, however form it takes, should be done consciously. Swear words should not be used as a a self-defense technique, it can sometimes complicate the situation even more. You want to intimidate the harasser but you don’t want to provoke him into verbal or physical abuse. The instructors also encouraged us to adopt the technique that we are most comfortable with. Follow “WenDo Egypt” on Facebook! There’s a learning curve to self-defense training and we know it can sound cheesy but out of experience, it is truly empowering… and very enjoyable. Great initiative @rofaydahealthpark! #rofaydaempowers #endviolenceagainstwomen – #fashion #fashionoutcasts #egypt #lifestyle #styleblogger #fashionista #streetfashion #instalove #igers #igdaily #fashionblogger #instagood #style #dailylook #streetstyle #ootd #clothing #instafashion #whatiwore #expressyourself #speakip #motivation #empowerment #women #fitness #fightback #fightback

A photo posted by F*shion Outcasts (@fashionoutcasts) on

Simply knowing that you have the ability to defend yourself no matter what situation might arise will improve your confidence and self esteem in your everyday life. You will feel empowered, positive, and consistently strong; ready to face whatever life throws at you, even if it is not physical attacks.

It’s important to keep in mind that harassment not only affects grown women, but young girls and teens as well. Young boys are a large part of the problem in harassing girls and women of all ages as well. It’s never too early to use self-defense to foster empowerment in our youth, and women and girls of all ages are welcome to attend at WENDO.

You can also check Igmadi’s page to find more events and resources in combating sexual harassment.