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#BoomBoom: Boxing Champ Mary Kom launches self-defense app for women

Despite the public outrage in the wake of the gang rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012 and a toughening of legistlation, India remains a dangerous place for women.

And now champion Indian boxer Mary Kom is launching a campaign that she hopes will be part of a wider solution; a mobile app that offers hints on how to stay safe as well as a free text alert service.

Five-time World Boxing Champion Kom, 30, who also won a Bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, was herself a near-victim of a sex attacker.

Aged 18 and on the way to church on Sunday in her home state of Manipur, Kom was attacked by a rickshaw driver. She had to use all the boxing skills she had started to learn to fend off the attacker.

Kom later recalled her reaction to the man’s advances: “Boom, boom, boom…he was on the ground, finished”.

The champion athlete is now channeling some of those skills into the app.

Kom already conducts numerous self-defence camps, teaching women how to defend themselves in the face of an attack and also has plans to open India’s first female “fight club” which will be backed by the Vodafone group.

“Most of the women are really excited and really happy to learn something,” said Kom about the self-defence camp in an interview with Wired.co.uk.

“The women are learning techniques like the one-two step, so I think that will be helpful in the future. And if they keep training that will really help them protect themselves.”

The app is arguably one of the more practical initiatives aimed at helping women protect themselves in the aftermath of the gang-rape and murder of “Nirbhaya” on a bus in Delhi in December 2012.

Among other efforts have been a special bra that sends out an electric shock and a special, pistol made “especially for female users” that was even endorsed by a senior member of India’s defence department.

“We are really affected as women. Day by day the crime increases,” said Kom.

“It is a great opportunity for me to help women especially, to give tips that might help in the future.”

Since her heroics at the London Olympics, Kom has become a prominent personality in India. Rumours even abound that she will enter politics at some point.

In 2013 producers announced that Bollywood starlet Priyanka Chopra will play Kom in a biopic set for release later this year.

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