As Women’s Month draws to an end, the Hout Bay Partnership says women today face different challenges to those of women in 1956.“But the struggle still continues. Women in South Africa face an injustice of a more severe nature these days, that being of violence against women. The instances of women dying at the hands of their male counterparts has increased significantly and it has become a problem that needs to be addressed. “Contributing factors such as alcohol abuse have a major influence on the instances and the extent of the violence against women but solutions to these problems need to be found,” says Portia Msamo of the Hout Bay Parnership.It is in this light that the Hout Bay Partnership chose Women’s Month to invite a few girls from the Sistahood project in Imizamo Yethu and a few girls from Hangberg to participate in a self-defence class run by Peter Michaels. “Michaels holds international championship titles in martial arts and is currently coaching mixed martial arts (MMA) to local youth in Hout Bay. “Martial arts are a codified system of combat practices that are used for a number of reasons, with self-defence being one of them. “Seeing the girls gaining confidence slowly in all the moves that Michaels taught them was inspiring. Hopefully they won’t find themselves in situations where they will have to use the moves, but if they do, at least they will be better equipped mentally and physically to defend themselves,” she says.The class was held at the Harvest Youth Centre in the harbour. “The girls were shown how to use their bodies to get out of confrontational situations and to protect themselves when possible. They were told that the best result in any physical confrontation would be to be able to get away from the situation unharmed. There are so many things happening in our communities, safety of girls remains a priority and we are glad that they took something out of this event,” says Msamo.