“Self-defense is a compelling necessity”

A group of students conducts women-led self-defense workshops in Izmir. "Self-defense is as important as bread and water. It is about conquering fear," said Izel Graca from the workshop's preparatory group.

Against the backdrop of increasing femicide and patriarchal violence, a group of students in Izmir is preparing self-defense workshops.

Women and LGBTI+ of all ages

The first self-defense training of a group of students from Izmir will take place on June 2. Within a month, 50 people have already registered for a five-day workshop. The participants are women and LGBTI+ of all ages. The seminar is supported by female students from Istanbul. Mezopotamya news agency interviewed Izel Graca from the preparatory group about the importance of the seminar.

Self-defense is a fundamental right

"Self-defense is a fundamental right," Graca stresses, warning that women and LGBTI+ are threatened everywhere and have to fight for their lives. Therefore, the participants should be trained in self-defense in a safe environment. "That's why we came together," she explains and adds: "The women who sign up want to protect themselves. We face violence everywhere. We want to create empowerment against that."

Empowerment as a focus

Graca sees a dialectical relationship between physical and mental self-defense: "That's why we don't look at self-defense only from the physical level. Knowing how to strike when someone harasses or tries to rape us makes us mentally strong and gives us security. Therefore, the mental and physical levels complement each other."

Self-defense imperative

Graca explains that the fear she experienced as a young woman deformed her and in the face of this intimidation, every area must be transformed into a battlefield: " The fate of women in Turkey is written with fear. We don't want to live in fear anymore. We don't want our hearts to pound when we walk down a street in the evening. We think that self-defense is as necessary as bread and water. It's about conquering fear."