KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — There are times when Sarita Lamichane is navigating the chaotic streets of Kathmandu and someone will offer to help her through the snarls of traffic. She is blind, and rush hour for her is no easy thing. But sometimes, those helpers will grope her the first chance they have, pawing at her body.
It will not, she vows, ever happen again.
“If somebody tries to misbehave with me, he is going to have a very bad time,” said Lamichane, 30. She is part of a group of visually impaired women — some partially blind, some totally blind — who have just finished a self-defense class designed for women like them.
Offered for free by a local company that normally trains security guards, the intensive two-week class addressed issues ranging from assessing the body language of passers-by to using everyday objects as weapons. Two groups of women have completed it so far.
Women’s security has become a major issue in this Himalayan nation over the past couple years, spillover from a deadly 2012 gang rape on a bus in India’s capital that was closely followed here.
While officials have no statistics on how often visually impaired women are crime victims, the women in the classes say they are regularly targeted, particularly by men who grope them on the streets.
Text by Associated Press writer Binaj Gurubacharya.
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