Monica Clarke
Posted June 11, 2015 from South Africa

One of the worst dangers facing children in poor communities is violence (see Eye Witness News this week).

At the same time this week, a big boy pulled 8 year old Gracie by the hair in the Cape Flats, trying to force her into the bushes. She fought him off and got away.

“I did what I PROTECT ME taught me to do,” she said to her teacher in class the next day. I PROTECT ME (IPM) teaches children self-defence skills as part of the Life Skills curriculum in schools in the Cape Flats, Western Cape, South Africa.

IPM believes that 85% of safety is in our own hands and that self-defence is the first line of defence against attack.

Last month a six year old girl told us that she had bitten her stepfather, kicked him in the shin, and ran out of the house screaming, straight to the police station. He is now awaiting trial for attempted rape.

Every day we hear the children echo statistics: They say they want to feel safe, that is their priority.

According to the Centre for Violence and Reconciliation (2009) in South Africa a third of rapes of girls in schools is by teachers and other students and ‘jackrolling’ (gang rape) is regarded as ‘fun’ by two-thirds of boys questioned (Human Rights Watch 2001).

It is proved that teaching self-defence in schools decreases sexual attacks amongst adolescents (Journal for Adolescent Health, June 2013). A trial by IPM in 2014 proved that up to 1,500 children can be taught Self-Defence skills within 3 months as part of the Life Skills curriculum in schools.

Children have a right to safety. By teaching them resilience, respect and by empowering them to defend themselves against attack we are creating a new generation of young people who will not stand by if their friends are attacked and who, when they themselves are adults, as leaders of the future, will reverse cultural and sexual attitudes towards women and girls and the underlying causes of rape will be eroded. Rape feeds HIV/AIDS. By attacking rape we attack HIV/AIDS.

Comments 4

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Damilola Fasoranti
Jun 11, 2015
Jun 11, 2015

Dear Monica,

Thanks for sharing this information and I do agree with the idea of teaching self-defence in schools.

Our schools urgently need some form of re-invention and rethinking to be able to help children and young people build resilience, respect and empowered to defend themselves and others.

Hope to see a world free of rape, HIV/AIDs and many more social menace.

Thanks for the insight.



Monica Clarke
Jun 11, 2015
Jun 11, 2015

Thanks for your encouragement, brother. ........dust the smoke off the limitless treasures in you ...I LOVE THAT!

Lousa Sheenaz Yogo
Jun 12, 2015
Jun 12, 2015

Hey Monica!

It is articles such as these that shake us up to action. So many times we tend to complain about problems within our communities, but do not give out solutions to these problems, but you have, and thankyou! I believe that with projects such as these implemented our world will become a better place, keep up the good work!!

Jun 13, 2015
Jun 13, 2015

Dear Monica,

I am happy to connect with you again. Thank you for sharing such an important and eye opening post. I fell pain in my heart when I read the portionabout the findings of Human Rights Watch (2001) that "gang rape is regarded as ‘fun’ by two-thirds of boys questioned".

Much work needs to be put into stemming out this orientation. Life skills training curriculum which encompass such as the I PROTECT ME model is worth replicating the world over. Women and girls are no sex objects, hence, boys and young men need to be taught early enough to get it right.

You remain an inspiration.

Olanike (Greengirl)