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5 January 2017
Only on AP: Myanmar Karate
'Only on AP' highlights AP investigations, in-depth features and character-driven stories that take a different angle on the news.

* Myanmar / Karate / Story #4074285

Young women and girls in Myanmar's war-torn Kachin State are turning to martial arts to protect themselves from the threat of sexual violence.

The Myanmar army has long been accused of using rape as a weapon in their conflicts with ethnic armies.

Fighting in remote, mountainous Kachin State has flared again in recent months, prompting renewed fears for the fate of civilians caught up in it.

Every afternoon at the Je Yang camp for internally displaced people, an instructor drills his young students in karate. They have lost their homes and some have lost their families to the war that has dragged on, intermittently, for decades. Powerless to resist the tide of war, learning karate at least gives them some sense of control over their personal safety, especially the women, for whom the fear of rape at the hands of the Myanmar military is deeply ingrained.

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