In 1989, WAR (War Against Rape) was founded as a sub committee of Women Action Forum. The primary aim of forming WAR was to provide free legal and medical aid to rape and sexually abused victims in Karachi. The secondary aim was to create awareness about issues like sexual harassment and child sexual abuse. In the past 5 years WAR has undertaken and solved around 70 cases and provided legal, moral and social help to many other rape survivors. Not only does WAR help victims get justice but also helps in getting the victim back on her feet by providing psychotherapy and rehabilitation services like finding jobs for them or providing housing if needed.
Initially WAR started with contacting the rape victims themselves and offering support. As the years went by WAR started getting a name among the people and the police and also in media for the work they were doing. WAR has conducted many sessions in schools and colleges to create awareness about sexual violence and child sexual abuse. It is one of the few NGOs which has a life time tax exemption certificate and it was at a donation drive held at the BodyBeat Recreational Center in Karachi that I had my first encounter with Azra Rehan, a leader in the governing body.
“Self defense education is very popular internationally and when I came up with the idea of conducting a seminar on practical combat, the first name to consult was Hasan Rizvi, the CEO of BodyBeat Pvt Ltd and a man surrounded by experts in various art forms”, shared Azra before the session. She contacted Hasan and was immediately recommended to consult with renowned martial arts instructor Babar Khan – an expert in practical combat and a former trainer for the The Special Service Group Navy – the nation’s elite principal special operations naval force component.”I am very grateful to both BodyBeat and Babar for helping me in this cause.” added Azra. Since the creation of BBRC in 2009, Babar Khan has been teaching the Fat Torching Plan, a hybrid class between yoga, practical combat and muscular endurance training.
The event, held on the 24th May at the BodyBeat Recreational Center in Karachi, garnered an impressive turnout for the first workshop and Azra and WAR plan to commit a long term deal with BBRC to have regular classes with Babar Khan, with hopes to start next month.
“The main aim of this joint program is to remove the helpless feeling and sense of fear that one has about such situations,” Azra shared while adding, ” we want women and men to feel that they have some sort of safety net when they step out of the house, Secondly I also want to create more awareness about WAR and the work that we do so people can reach out to us when needed.”
This year WAR aims to create more awareness in terms of sexual harassment and child sexual abuse. They plan to hold similar activities like this combat seminar and other activities to promote WAR. Azra’s past commercial experience in the banking and advertising industry really helps her in this regard as “I can come up with newer and creative ideas to promote WAR especially through social media.”