MUMBAI – Indian actress Bipasha Basu is all set to open self-defense schools for women by next year amid soaring sex crimes in the Southeast Asian nation.

Violence against women and girls has become widespread in India over the last number of decades, with the attention of the international community piqued following the gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012.

Sexual attacks against women and young girls have continued. According to figures released by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a staggering 34,651 cases of rape were reported in 2015 alone, an average almost four per hour.

However, Basu hopes to reverse the trend by teaching women to fight back.

The actress, who is also a trained kickboxer, has long been a vocal supporter of women’s rights and hopes to pass on her skills.

Basu plans to hold classes in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata covering kickboxing, Israeli martial art Krav Maga and a number of other forms of combat. The centers will primarily cater to young girls in the 13 to 30 age group, who are most affected by sexual violence, the Times of India reported.

Basu explained to the media earlier this week that “crime in India is escalating at an alarming rate” and she believes “self-defense is the need of the hour”.

“We are designing a week-long crash course initially, and will then turn it into a full-fledged one, spanning a month or more.”

Basu reportedly used to carry a hammer in her bag for protection when she first came to Mumbai.