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Girl Power: Danish Ladies Enroll in Self-Defense for Fear of Rape

© Flickr / kai.batesStroget street, Copenhagen
Stroget street, Copenhagen - Sputnik International
With sexual harassment and rape on the rise in Denmark, women and even very young girls are increasingly signing up for self-defense courses for fear of their own safety.

In the past year alone, refugees have carried out violent attacks against women in Cologne on New Year's Eve and gang raped several Danish women. These troubling events have driven women to take their safety into their own hands.

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Numerous Danish self-defense centers reported a marked increase in the number of women who want to learn martial arts in order to be able to protect themselves, should they be harassed or sexually assaulted.

Gentofte Self Defense Club has around 200 members, two thirds of which are now women. More so, in the 12-13-year-old group, about 80 percent are girls and the club receives daily inquiries from mothers and young girls who want to be able protect themselves. Jens Agger, an instructor for the club, noted that there had been an increase in danger to women.

"Many have either been exposed to such or are worried about getting there. Especially high school girls feel unsafe and discriminated," he told Berlingske.

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Corporate event planner Kenn Leschey argued that the reasons are quite obvious. "This is due to a growing sense of insecurity among women. And particularly owing to cases like the incident in Cologne, as well as numerous rape cases largely promoted by the media. Women do not trust the police to either protect them or solve the cases," he told, as quoted by Berlinske newspaper.

Henrik Dam, president of the Crime Prevention Council, insists, however, that self-defense is not a panacea against sexual assault as it may instil a sense of false security, citing the absence of data on this subject. According to the Danish Crime Prevention Council, rape most often occurs among people who know each other well. Only 25 percent of sexual assaults occur outside the home, whereas the remaining 75 percent actually happen at home. The Crime Prevention Council is currently addressing the lack of statistics together with the suspected number of unreported cases and is set to publish a comprehensive report in mid-2017.

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