A Thai boxing academy recently opened its doors in Abu Zaabal, Egypt, and there are already around 40 people – mainly women and girls – enrolled in this martial art, learning to not only better defend themselves but also to feel more confident and independent.
“I believe that it is a basic right for girls to play any sports they want, and also it is very important for them to be able to defend themselves against any assaults,” says coach Samah Ahmed, founder of Monster Academy, who started to learn Muay Thai five years ago after being sexually harassed.
Female role models in sport have a positive effect because they present valid proof that success is attainable, and they fight off negative stereotypes regarding what is believed to be the weaker sex. Through the practice of Muay Thai, women and girls can get rid of negative emotions, feel empowered, even heal from sexual harassment. It becomes a tool to feel safe and to move around freely as “a self-defense sport like Muay Thai can help many women protect themselves against sexual harassment or any kind of violence,” adds Malak Ahmed, 17, a teaching assistant at the Academy.