Olympic medal-winning boxer MC Mary Kom on Thursday said she had also faced a sex attack when she was 18, but managed to overpower the assaulter.
The boxer expressed concern over women's safety in India and urged them to go for physical training to fend off attackers.
"I would urge them to have some kind of physical training to prevent sex attacks, because you need to be strong and fit to fight attackers. I would also tell them to fight sex offence without fear," she said.
The boxer's comments came in the wake of a series of rape cases, including of foreigners, reported from across the country.
Mary Kom, who won a bronze in women's flyweight class in the 2012 London Olympics, said she faced a sex attack when she was 18, but managed to overpower the assaulter.
"I was going to church on a Sunday. I was wearing a traditional wraparound dress and took a rickshaw as I was a bit late. Suddenly, the rickshaw puller caught my hand and tried to molest me," she told a stunned audience at an interactive session organised by the FICCI Ladies Organisation.
Mary Kom said she kicked and punched the man who fell flat.
"I managed to flatten him because I was fit and strong. But that incident taught me a lesson that as a woman, I have to be very alert all the time and must have courage (to fight the odds)," she said.
Mary Kom recently launched a mobile app for teaching self-defence to women.