Vic­tims hero­ines

Rob­bery vic­tims use their ex­pe­ri­ence to ad­vo­cate women’s safety.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - Sto­ries by CHRIS­TINE CHEAH allther­age@thes­tar.com.my

USU­ALLY when some­one gets robbed they would make a po­lice re­port, feel sad over their losses, add se­cu­rity mea­sures and even­tu­ally move on from the hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

El­iza Lee and May Tan how­ever, didn’t let their story end there. Late last month, the duo’s Phat Cul­ture bou­tique in Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Se­lan­gor was robbed and they suf­fered losses of around RM3,000.

The busi­ness part­ners de­cided to use the har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as a les­son to ben­e­fit not only them­selves, but the women in their com­mu­nity.

“Af­ter the in­ci­dent, many peo­ple asked us how we have moved on but we could only re­count the story of what had hap­pened,” said Lee, 25.

They wanted to be able to tell some­thing more about the ex­pe­ri­ence – es­pe­cially how it could be used to ed­u­cate young women on their per­sonal safety as well as how to pro­tect them­selves when in trou­ble.

And that’s how the Be Your Own Hero­ine cam­paign was born.

The friends started to ask around, look­ing for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that could work with them on a women’s safety aware­ness cam­paign, and de­cided upon

Lever­age Com­bat Academy, which agreed al­most im­me­di­ately to help.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion re­sulted in four con­sec­u­tive weeks of jiu jitsu work­shops in Kuala Lumpur, con­ducted by cer­ti­fied in­struc­tors from the academy. And best of all, the work­shops are free of charge.

“The work­shops are catered spe­cially for ladies and the in­struc­tors have tai­lored the class ma­te­ri­als to fo­cus on women’s safety,” said Tan.

“Jiu jitsu is about aware­ness and the need to al­ways be alert.”

Tan, who at­tended two of the work­shops, said that women can gain im­por­tant tips from the in­struc­tors, who also re­mind the par­tic­i­pants on the im­por­tance of be­ing aware of their sur­round­ings at all time.

One of the tips Tan re­ceived, and she be­lieves is worth re­peat­ing, is that women should be alert es­pe­cially when walk­ing to­wards their cars in a car park. They should al­ready have their keys in their hand in­stead of rum­mag­ing for it in their hand­bag which could dis­tract them from po­ten­tial dan­ger.

To pro­mote the Be Your Own Hero­ine cam­paign, Lee and Tan also in­vited sev­eral blog­gers and celebri­ties in­clud­ing Joey Leong and Me­gan Tan to at­tend the workshop and post videos on the safety tips they picked up from the in­struc­tors.

“We want to em­power peo­ple,” said Tan. “Hope­fully, we will be able to help oth­ers

through this cam­paign.”

(Top) mar­tial arts sifu aaron Goh (mid­dle) teach­ing the girls how to ex­e­cute a choke hold against an at­tacker.

Goh demon­strat­ing the choke hold on another in­struc­tor as the par­tic­i­pants look on.

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