Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
Roshni studies in 7th standard in a government school. One day, walking home from school, Roshni finds that she is being followed by two boys on a bike. Her pace quickens but the boys catch up and start to pull at her clothes. This is a fairly common occurrence in India. Stats show that 1 in 3 girls in India are eve-teased or subject to assault.
Roshni however is not part of that statistic. As the boys start to harass her, she stares right back at them bringing out her ‘dangerous self’. She screams a loud “NO” to deter them. When they don’t stop, she takes a swing at one with her bag and throws a full-force punch to another’s nose. They go off balance and fall. Stunned at the response and hurt, while a crowd gathers to help finish the lesson that was being taught to the boys, Roshni takes down the number of the bike and marches to the local police station to file a complaint. She knows that sexual harassment is a crime under section 354A of the Indian Penal Code and the Police must take action. A dispersing crowd cheers her on.
Roshni is one of the 1500 girls that MukkaMaar trains to feel confident and empowered. MukkaMaar works to build inner power in adolescent girls with a strong belief that if the perception of being weak and helpless is removed, something deeper is ignited in girls. We work in partnership with government schools, and every girl in 6, 7th and 8th standard is trained in physical and non-physical activities. We use fitness, physical and verbal self defence, identification of types of violence, boundary setting, assertiveness training, negotiation, forum theatre and much more.
To ensure that our 1500 girls continue to get their MukkaMaar Classes till April 2023, we need ~20 Lakhs.
Impact so far
MukkaMaar partners with the municipal corporation in Mumbai to deliver it’s programs through government schools. The girls who we empower in these schools are first generation learners, likely to become child brides, are malnourished and believe that women and girls must be subservient to men and accept violence. MukkaMaar plays a key role in shifting this narrative.
Hear from our tribe
Boys are permitted to go out at any time, whereas a girl isn’t allowed to go. As they feel that because she is a girl, something wrong can happen to her. This is what girls are told for generations. But I wouldn’t pass this on to the next generation.
In India females have observe fasts in Shravan etc. Females are not aware of the constitution – to get a job the constitution doesn’t want to know how many fasts you’ve observed but demands to know how many degrees you have earned.
“They will take action”
As a father I am assured that with MM training , daughters will be equipped to protect themselves if ever they are caught in such a situation. I do believe they will take action in reality based on what they have been taught.
“He overpowers her psychologically”
Not that the man is physically stronger – but he is aware that the girl won’t speak up/ take action ; he overpowers her psychologically.
“Obeying without questioning”
Girls have been following rules, “obeying” without questioning – so when MM tells them they can have a point of view, they tend to reflect over it. Post MM training I realised – I’m simply emulating what I saw my mother doing without questioning /realising the implications of it.
“Sharm aurat ka gehna hai”
People who talk ill about the girl feel that ‘sharm aurat ka gehna hai’ (modesty is a girl’s priced possession). As we keep our jewellery in locker we should keep shyness in locker too.
“Now she is bindass”
When I used to send her to the market, she would be scared, would be unhappy about some boys that used to hang out in that area. Now she doesn’t hesitate, she goes bindaas. She’s more confident and her fear has gone away. This has taken away a little bit of my fear too.
“I was very shy.”
I was very shy and used to walk with my heads down but now I’m confident and can look at people and talk to them and this makes people know that I attend MM.
“MukkaMaar focuses on making them strong mentally”
Other academies focus on imparting techniques w.r.t judo/karate/ taekwondo to – gain strength. However, the mind is the most important contact point in a fight – and MukkaMaar focuses on making them strong mentally and physically. Many girls have black belt, they can kick at any height but lack in confidence.
“Khul ke baat karegi”
MM is making self defence / overall personality development / fitness and exercise accessible to low income families. Girls learn to express themselves openly and won’t hesitate to put forth their views “Khul ke baat karegi – apne vichaar batayenge.”
“I can share my feelings”
I can share my feelings or an experience with a MM trainer, which I may not be comfortable sharing with my parents.
“MukkaMaar is unique”
BMC too trains us on various issues/ new ideas which we can impart to the children on and off. There were other programs on gender equality too, but MukkaMaar is unique because of its focus on “opening up” especially for girls.
“Sharam aurat ka gehna hai.”
During class, a young girl was uncomfortable in her dupatta (stole) trying to adjust as she continued her practice. There is a saying that modesty is a girl’s treasure – so I asked the girls- where are treasures kept – in the safe was the unanimous response. “Sharam aurat ka gehna hai. Gehne kahan rakhte hain? Tijori mein!”. After this, the girl simply took off her dupatta and went about the training routine.
“He was my family member.”
When he tried to touch me inappropriately, initially I pushed his hands away, and when he still tried to come near and touch me, I caught his neck and pressed it hard with my fingers, he fell down and ran away. My mother came and I told my family about what had happened and they thrashed him, he then apologised and left the place and never returned again. He was my family member.
How will your donation be used?
Currently, MukkaMaar has 1500 girls from class 6th to 8th across 39 government schools in Mumbai. They are part of the MukkaMara Girls program, where each batch of girls gets 2 MukkaMaar classes every week for a period of 3 years. For these girls, the classes started in July 2020, post the pandemic.
To ensure that we can continue their training in the coming year, we need your support to raise INR 85 Lakh.
MukkaMaar uses 100% of your donation towards it’s objectives.