• VPEC

Women's Studies, Gender Equality, and ESD in Kerala, India


Today, our virtual tour of violence prevention education programs brings us to India, where we're visiting Dinta Suresh.


Dinta is a Ph.D. candidate in women's studies at the University of Calicut. In February 2020, she attended VPEC 2020, and the ESD Global instructor training that preceded it.


When COVID-19 passes, Dinta plans to work with adolescents to teach them how to set boundaries and stay safe around not only strangers but with those closest to them. As part of her teaching, she also hopes to provide skills for dealing with bullying.


Welcome, Dinta!


Q. How did you become interested in women’s studies?


A. I've always been very passionate about learning about issues women face, along with their challenges and achievements. I believe the life experiences of men and women are different. I was very interested to explore how gender impacts human behavior and the opportunities for men and women in society.

I was very interested to explore how gender impacts human behavior and the opportunities for men and women in society.

Luckily, I don't have much bitter experience in my life, and growing up, my brother and I were treated as equals. But I have seen some of my close relatives' personal experiences with domestic violence and how the perpetrator's actions can be justified by his family.


This is a common phenomenon and I was surprised to see it even as a child.


I've always been really curious to understand what I'm seeing around me.


My life experiences as a girl motivated me to be a women's studies scholar.



Q. What led you to the ESD Global training in February 2020?


A. I had an opportunity to attend a one week program in Boston where I met some of the staff of ESD Global. This was a life-changing moment for me. I was surprised to learn that a system like Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) existed and anxious to learn more.


The most interesting part was that prior self-defense training was not required. I was excited to join the training, learn Empowerment Self Defense techniques, and also wanted to be an active member in the fight against gender-based violence.


This is how my journey with ESD began.


Q. How does your ESD training fit in with your academic studies?


A. Being a Ph.D. scholar in women's studies, I work with adolescents and women in my country. Moreover, prevention of violence against women and girls is one of the steps towards achieving gender equality.

ESD training has helped me to apply my knowledge into actions and contribute to promoting gender equality.

ESD training has helped me to apply my knowledge into actions and contribute to promoting gender equality.


Q. In addition to ESD, what is one violence prevention education strategy that would benefit your community?


A. I believe engaging men and boys is an effective strategy in violence prevention, and that it's important to address rigid traditional gender roles, norms and, notions of masculinity, that contribute to gender-based violence.


In my work, I would particularly like to address this among adolescents.


Q. What were some of your biggest takeaways from VPEC 2020?

A. VPEC 2020 was very informative and an eye-opening experience for me.


I realized that gender-based violence was rampant and prevalent across the globe. VEPC 2020 allowed me to be part of a group of amazing people from different parts of the world who are passionate about working together to fight gender-based violence.


One of my biggest achievements from VPEC 2020 was learning to use my voice as a self-defense technique. It was the first time in my life that I'd heard the need to set healthy boundaries discussed.

I realized there are very simple yet strong techniques we can use to prevent atrocities aimed at us.

I realized there are very simple yet strong techniques we can use to prevent atrocities aimed at us.


I got the message that I can use - THINK, YELL, RUN, FIGHT, TELL, - the five principles of Empowerment Self Defense, to keep myself safe.


Thank you so much, Dinta! And best of luck with all of your amazing endeavors.


Join us for the rest of our tour by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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