More women taking up self-defence classes
Outrage of modesty cases on the rise
Stella (not her real name) was molested on the train six years ago.
A man touched her groin area while she was standing, which she did not realise until another commuter shouted at him. He immediately alighted at the next stop.
Wanting to be prepared if she is ever attacked again, Stella has been taking up self-defence classes at Kapap Academy since September.She is among a growing number of women taking up such classes.
Stella, a regional sales manager at a software company, told The New Paper she would be better prepared now than she was six years ago.
She said: "I would know what to do and let him know that what he did was wrong.
"If he touched me today, I would not hesitate to break his finger."
According to three gyms that teach self-defence classes, more women have been learning how to defend themselves in the past two years.
Some of the reasons are women are travelling more and want to better protect themselves and they want to stay healthy.
Cadre Academy's principal coach, Mr Leon Koh, said the school's current number of female students has doubled since last year.
Mr Koh, 45, cited women travelling more for work and being alone with clients as reasons.
Similarly, on JR Muay Thai's website, owner Lili Pan, 26, said the muay thai for women page is one of the highest searched pages.
She added that a girls' school and companies have approached the gym for self-defence classes.
Ms Qin Yunquan, 29, chief instructor at Kapap Academy, has seen an increase of at least 500 female students taking up such classes over the last two years.
Its self-defence system, called Modern Street Combatives, teaches students to deal with different types of situations, like how to diffuse a tense situation.
If physical retaliation is needed, students learn how to use items they have on hand as improvised weapons, such as umbrella, bag and pen.
A cause for concern is also due to an increase in the number of reported outrage of modesty cases.
Between January and June, there were 832 reported cases, an increase of 147 cases from the same period last year. Of the 832 cases, 105 happened on public transport, which was an increase of 32 cases.
Ms Anisha Joseph, head of the Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC) of the Association of Women for Action and Research, said it encourages victims of sexual harassment to prioritise their psychological and physical safety.
She said: "It is important to remember that it is okay if you are unable to react in the situation. Freezing is normal, as are 'fight' or 'flight' reactions.
"Survivors can also talk to a professional after the incident, like someone from SACC, who can offer emotional support and legal information through its helpline, legal clinic, befriending and counselling services."