The New Indian Express Newspaper
By A Sharadhaa | ENS
For many whose lives were changed by Franklin Joseph, he is Dr Safety. Not because he saved them through medicines, but because he tries to motivate people through his safety programmes using psychological empowerment against crime, violence and sexual abuse.
“Dr Safety tag was given to me by one of my students. It is because of the way I approach the problem of women safety. I try to empower the psychological aspect of safety much more than the martial aspect,” said Franklin who was born in the slums of New Delhi and was exposed to sexual abuse and violence from a very young age. “I was a victim of child abuse and violence at the age of four when I was abused by girls who were in the age of six and nine years of age. It was an age when children are not sexually active. The nine-year-old girl’s reaction was probably because she might have been abused by her brother or her father or some relative or neighbour,” explained Franklin, who instead of trying to be reactive, became proactive about solving his trauma.
“I started researching and educating myself on empowerment to help me heal and elevate myself from my own sexual abuse and violent past. I quit my job as a creative director after 11 years and turned into a social entrepreneur. Today I have also become a motivational speaker,” he said.
At 40, Franklin is settled in Dharward and travels to Bangalore every weekend to teach Israeli self-defense sessions through Krav Maga classes at a centre on Richmond Road. “I practised Krav Maga, which is an Israeli self-defense technique, in Delhi and was trained by legends like Master Vicky Kapoor and few others. I have now been conducting these classes through BadAzz Combat Academy from past eight years where people are trained on basic survival instincts using military self-defense tactics. I conduct various workshops for corporates, which is my main source of income,” said Franklin, adding, “Initially it was difficult to convince people about military tactics of action as they preferred martial arts. But now people are realising the importance.”
According to Franklin, the Delhi rape incident might be an eye-opener. “We had candle light marches and women started thinking about taking self-defense classes. But what is important and nobody has explored is that even though the girl learns martial arts, she will not be able react to the situation because of the psychological aspect.”
He researches, creates and designs grass-root workshop module on women safety by living or researching with women who have an abusive past or trauma. His next target is to reach schools and colleges.
“From the trauma that I hear from women, I have analysed that be it in office or outside, the people responsible for eve-teasing and molestation are someone known to the woman. Women are mostly duped and targetted by men they know. So it is always best to be prepared psychologically,” he concluded.