Egyptian born sisters Yara and Nancy Helmy are at the forefront of a recent evolution…
In the beginning of August 2010, Silvana signed up to take her very first class in Krav Maga at a local MMA school (BBA) Black Belt Academy in Ronkonkoma New York.
FIGHTING BACK: EVERYDAY WOMEN WARRIORS
ARTICLE BY WENDY JARVA @SICCHICFIGHTER
In the beginning of August 2010, Silvana signed up to take her very first class in Krav Maga at a local MMA school (BBA) Black Belt Academy in Ronkonkoma New York. Krav Maga is a defense system developed in Israel that is known for its focus on real-world situations. The philosophy behind this system is one of neutralizing the threat and simultaneously and efficiently countering the attack. I myself also hold an orange belt in this system of defense under the Krav Maga Association of America, Inc. It works very well when done properly.
August 21st, 2010
Silvana wasn’t even attending class for two weeks when she was raped by two men that she considered friends—both participated in this brutal attack! Sadly this happens more frequently than reported. Silvana decided to report the incident and followed all the proper protocol. She went to a local hospital where she received a (SANE) Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. This is a detailed exam performed by a forensic nurse. These nurses have special training to conduct sexual assault evidentiary exams for rape victims. Afterwards she went on to file a police report, Sadly due to the fact that she had multiple attackers the DNA could not be matched. Unfortunately no justice was ever served.
Silvana suffered every after-rape injury in the book, (mentally). It was by far the most difficult thing she ever had to endure in her lifetime. She kept very silent about the incident and spoke to no one about it at the academy. There were many different areas of her recovery that she had to work hard on. She was determined not to let this incident ruin her life or take control of her happiness. She looked into finding something to help extinguish the pain she felt inside. She tried therapy, psychology, meditation, art, even psychics. She continued on taking classes at the academy and it turned out that Krav Maga was her salvation! She slowly began to regain that sense of power and control she lost after being assaulted. It wasn’t immediate, she worked long and hard. Americans are use to expecting quick results. She approached Krav Maga as a lifestyle. She would come everyday with a belief that somehow, some way, it would pay off. She continued on with her training and after a year and half she went on to receive her yellow belt under the Krav Maga Association of America, Inc.
In 2012, I met Silvana for the first time. I was gone for exactly one year battling my own war with breast cancer and Krav Maga saved my life too back in 2011. I won’t go into that here, but you can read my story on the SicChíc® “Our Story” page.
I just remember thinking how beautiful she was. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Perfect skin and facial features. She had a look of an actress. I would of never imagined she was battling her own demons. Funny how both of us were using Krav Maga as a type of “therapy.”
Silvana continued on with her journey and “therapy” and it was on April 14, 2012 she went in to take her Orange belt test passing and continuing on with her journey. The morning of the test she posted a private note on Facebook tagging all the people who have helped her in her recovery. All who had no idea they were even a part of her recovery.
She spoke of the incident and this is what followed: “You might not realize this, but each and every one of you played a part in my recovery. I am forever grateful. You had absolutely no idea what I was going through. Even still, any time I came to the studio, I was greeted and welcomed not only with a hug and a kiss, but also with encouragement, positive reinforcement, support, constructive criticism, loyalty, and respect. Each one of these things being just as important as the rest. You saw something in me, and did not hesitate to evoke and encourage it. What made this so special was that it wasn’t just one person, it was each and every member that came in and out of that studio. And it wasn’t just here and there, it was ANY time I stepped foot on the mats.
“An atmosphere such as the one found at Black Belt Academy is few and far in between. I believe everything happens for a reason. Something powerful somewhere had an upper hand in leading me to find this rare, beautiful group of people. I consider Black Belt Academy my “other family,” as I like to call it.
“Now, because of you, I have realized that I not only have power and control, but I have the ability to guide other women like myself to find theirs. I will pay it forward, I plan on doing big and beautiful things, and I will never forget where I came from and who helped me get to where I am. Thank you, so much. Silvana”
Somewhere along her journey she realized that her power was really never gone, it had been there all along.
Today she has gone on to teach seminars to women such as “Attack Your Attacker,” guiding, helping other women regain a sense of control in their own lives after rape, abuse etc.
September 24, 2015
I had no idea Silvana decided to continue on her journey and receive her Phase A certification in Krav Maga. She moved away and we lost track of each other. I just happen to be skimming Facebook and this little clip came across my news feed:
“The results are in and it is official: I passed my Krav Maga Phase A certification! My primary goal is to arm my students to protect themselves in situations of danger; first and foremost. But, if I can touch just one life the way my instructors did in my time of need, then I can truly say my trauma was worth going through. Time to make it worth something! Special thanks to Richard Domenech, Sean Boyle, Keith Jarva, Angelo Laino and Mike Berean for all the lessons and for pushing me to the limit! Here’s to more learning, leading, and downright bad-assery!”
I believe you will Silvana!! It takes a lot to move and inspire me. Five years ago you were presented with a situation that you could of left you sad and broken, but instead you chose the path of a warrior. #sicchicfighter!! I am proud to know you and consider you my friend. Keep on fighting, keep on inspiring!! WARRIOR!