[Reader-list] Wenlido-Pl circulate

Savithri Ananth savithri at nagpur.dot.net.in
Sun Jun 9 19:49:10 IST 2002

Combat violence on womyn with Wenlido
Violence against womyn is an ever present and growing phenomenon. Womyn and young girls are subjected to violence in many forms - sexual harassment, molestation, rape, during riots, war, on the roads, on buses, at the workplace and unfortunately even within the home. While campaigns against violence address the structural reasons for violence against womyn in a patriarchal society, empowering initiatives that enhance personal -safety skills also play a significant role in dealing with violence.

 'Wenlido' (translates as 'womyn's path of strength) 'helps womyn connect with their strength, overturning centuries of conditioning, which convinces womyn that they are the 'weaker sex'. As much as learning techniques of physical self-defense, Wenlido training involves the evolution of a Womyn from a passive victim into a strong capable individual who can control her own life.

 In India we womyn suffer a great deal from a sense of powerlessness over our lives especially in close relations. On the Physical and Emotional level Wenlido offers 'ways out' of formerly thought of 'stuck (powerless)' situations. As well in the discussions a lot of emphasis is put on finding solutions. Solutions that empower us as individuals. This relates to many levels of our realities.

 In the workshop not only womyn learn to protect themselves, but also how to recognize potentially dangerous situations early on, how to respond verbally effectively when harassed, become aware of personal boundaries, problem solve together on how to stay safe and get out of inner victim mode.  

Praghathisheel Mahila Sanghathan (Pramas) from Chandrapur is interested in taking up this empowering Wenlido Basic workshops for womyn. One of our activists is a trained Wenlido instructor. She was part of the first batch of Wenlido Instructors in India. Wenlido - the feminist self defense was developed in Canada to help womyn survive violence. Gitta Ridder a Wenlidoka from Canada got an overwhelming response in India last year for the basic workshops. This year for the first time she trained Wenlido instructors in India. The recently organized Wenlido workshop in Chandrapur raised the confidence as well as consciousness of the participants of the workshop.

 The Wenlido workshop combines Physical techniques as well as consciousness raising discussions resulting in a  profound transformation of the participants. In the workshops it could be perceived that womyn were getting thrilled, excited and inspired and were eagerly sustaining themselves in the 16 hour workshop without any boredom. Wenlido training can be taken by any womyn right from the age of 12 to womyn even above 60. Womyn belonging to any background - whether she is rich or poor, urban or rural, illiterate or highly educated, conservative or progressive, non political or highly political can take advantage of this workshop. In fact it is a highly essential personal tool which every womyn irrespective of her class, caste, religion, region, politics, educational background, age, level of consciousness and other differences should posses and will benefit from. 

How much ever a Womyn may get educated, conscious, or advance in life there is always a lurking fear that in an actual situation of physical assault we may become helpless or easy victims. Womyn challenging patriarchal norms are often mocked at by saying that "she will  know her status only when she is  assaulted !". This creates a deep seated inferiority complex in womyn and creates hurdles in her development. Learning martial Arts is not an easy solution to combat violence on womyn. It is because Martial arts require years of disciplined training the time for which every womyn does not have. Besides these Martial arts are mainly designed for men and does not help womyn in gaining consciousness and confidence as it does not address the issues related to the patriarchal system which oppresses womyn. That's why there have been known cases where female martial art champions ended up paralyzing in fear, inspite of being highly skilled.

Yet we have had wenlido students who after 16 hours of training successfully responded in situations of violence and left unharmed.  They took control of the situation, got in touch with their strength and had the confidence to act in order to get away. Thus Wenlido within a short span of 16 hours transforms womyn from a helpless, choice less and powerless person to one who can take control of the situation. Womyn get in touch with their own strength, their own bodies and their confidence is raised manifold.

Pramas would like to take basic workshops for womyn with the view to get them acquainted with what is Wenlido so that they themselves can take a decision regarding training instructors in future and carry forward these effective techniques to other womyn. Wenlido could be an alternative, a new way of life for womyn. Womyn committed to social change and community work would find it highly inspiring as they can actually see the difference they can make in the lives of womyn. It would be a boon for the womyn's movement in India if several womyn come forward to train womyn in facing the most difficult situations of life.  

Since at present Praghathisheel Mahila Sanghathan has only one trained instructor for facilitating basic Wenlido workshops  and she is also involved in so many other responsibilities we would be giving priority to womyn who are serious in pursuing Wenlido in future also  and would like to be trained as instructors. If we have a team of committed womyn who are willing to take the responsibility of carrying forward this mission we can request Gitta Ridder from Canada to come back to India for training more trainers. Of course her trip to India depends on the availability of funds and the coming together of other positive factors. The Wenlido group in Canada is not funded by the government, Capitalists or any other corporate or imperialist agencies. It is solely sustained on the basis of the contributions received from Individual womyn. Gitta Ridder is a feminist totally committed to the cause of womyn and leads a very simple life. Her trips to India have been financed by the Wenlido group and by other womyn sympathetic to the cause. In India her travel and other expenses have been met by the local womyn's groups. Contributions for her tour to India would be welcome. In order to take maximum advantage of the training for trainers it would be good if womyn are acquainted with the basics in advance and are mentally prepared for taking up advanced training and the mission forward. 

Praghathisheel Mahila Sanghathan (Pramas) is a womyn's organization committed to change the patriarchal system which oppresses womyn. It has been involved in consciousness raising, campaigns, struggles and various activities with the ultimate goal of establishing an egalitarian society. Right from the village level , to the all India and International level we are creating alliances with the various marginalized and oppressed sections of the people with a view to build up a strong movement to change the entire oppressive and exploitative socio-economic and political system. We have been actively involved in fora like the Committee against violence for womyn, National Coordination Committee Organizing conferences of the womyn's movement, Forum against imperialist Globalization, International league of Peoples struggle etc. We do not accept funds from Government or any imperialist foreign funding agencies. We believe that a genuine movement can only be built from the contributions, efforts, struggles and sacrifices of the people. We urge upon you to join hands in this movement.

Guidelines for organizing Wenlido workshops:-
1.            The workshop is strictly for womyn and ideally for a batch of not more than 10.

2.            The 16 hour workshop can ideally be spread over 2 days starting from 9.AM to 6 P.M.

3.            The place where the workshop is organized should be spacious, peaceful and covered so that there cannot be any onlookers and disturbances.

4.            The womyn coming for the workshop should be punctual and disciplined and attend the workshop for the whole of 16 hours without missing any part of it.

5.            The womyn coming for the workshop can dress up in their usual attires in which they are most comfortable - preferably loose cotton dresses like Salwar Kameez etc.

6.            The participants are requested to make a minimum contribution of Rs 50/- as a donation for the womyn's movement. It is expected that working womyn with an income source make a contribution equivalent to a days wage for Wenlido and the womyn's movement.

For more details about Wenlido and the reports of Gitta Ridder's tour in India you can visit the Wenlido site in Canada at the following website:-


You can get in touch with us by email at -

asavithri at indiatimes.com,

savithrpramas at yahoo.co.in 

geetax2000 at indiatimes.com,

Our Postal address is :


Praghathisheel Mahila Sangathan

Quarter No 3 Type III

Central Excise Colony

Jagannath Baba Nagar

Chandrapur. Maharashtra       



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