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Kenya's Kickboxing Grannies: Elderly Women Learning To Protect Themselves From Rape In Nairobi


First Posted: 05/12/11 11:33 AM ET Updated: 07/12/11 06:12 AM ET

Nairobi's elderly community faces an increasing threat of sexual assault, with almost 20 percent of reported rapes in Kenya's capital city involving women over the age of 60 last year.

But now, some strong-willed grannies are taking tough measures to protect themselves by attending self-defense groups that cater to the elderly, GlobalPost is reporting.

"At first when we were starting with the grannies, I would say they were fearing...they were kind of, 'Karate for us? No, that's for young people,'" says Sheila Kariuki, who began organizing the classes in 2007. "But when we sat down with them and showed them that these were simple techniques, they took up the training...and now it's three years down the line, and they will faithfully come to the class and they are willing to learn."

Kariuki's efforts seem to be paying off -- as one 70-year-old grandmother describes, she was recently able to defend herself against attackers after attending the classes. "One day these young men came to house...one grabbed my dress, but I was too quick for him," she says proudly. "With my hand I grabbed his privates...when he screamed, the neighbors heard and the men ran away."

Watch GlobalPost's report on Kenya's kickboxing grannies here:

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |  Report Corrections