Crime and attacks on women in public places still happen all the time. 1 out of every 6 women in America has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Staying safe is a reality we unfortunately have to deal with as females in particular, but with the right knowledge we can feel confident in doing so.
Have you ever felt like you were being followed? Have you ever wondered what you would do if someone tried to attack you? Here are a few tips for safety that I think all women should practice.
Being aware of your surroundings
Being aware of your surroundings can be essential to your safety. If you’re walking alone, try not to place all of your concentration on your phone screen and instead scan the world around you. You should know what’s going on around you and exactly where you are. If you are walking through a parking lot at night, don’t be afraid to ask an official security guard to be an escort to your car, and always check your back seat before getting inside. Many women are abducted in parking lots (there are many hiding places for predators!) so this is the optimal time to be fully aware of your surroundings.
Walking with your head up and standing proudly will project confidence and deter any potential attackers who may be looking for unsuspecting women. If your body language suggests that you won’t be taking any crap from anybody, you will be far less likely to be met with a dangerous circumstance.
Protecting yourself from car-jackings
Keeping your car locked at all times and your windows rolled up. Most car-jackings will happen at intersections, where the criminal can quickly approach your door from your blind spot to hop in the passenger seat or pull you from yours. When my mom was younger, a man approached her car and wedged his leg in front of her door so she wasn’t able to close it. Thinking quickly, she threw her hands on the horn to draw attention and he ran off.
Pepper spray is always a good option for women to carry in their bags. If pepper spray is legal in your area, check out THESE personal portable options. In some areas, however (like here in Canada), pepper spray is illegal. With safety in mind, you might also want to carry protection against dogs. This spray contains a formulation very similar to – though slightly less potent than – pepper spray for humans. At 1.0% major capsaicinoids, this is the same strength used for protection against human aggressors in New York. THIS ONE is my favourite because it’s convenient and just the right size. I also carry THIS personal alarm wherever I go. It looks like a USB stick and projects a sound of 110dB which is audible up to 600 feet away. All you do is pull the pin out to set it off and draw attention to an emergency.
Stop posting your locations on social media
With check-in features on Facebook and tagging your location on Instagram, you’re giving criminals access to your exact location. You should really read this post I wrote a while back called Privacy Tips For Your Online Life and take note of the Instagram bit. If you MUST post your location, do it as you are leaving the venue instead of as you arrive.
If things get ugly, do not lose your power. You have every right to defend yourself and shouldn’t be afraid to get physical (unless of course he’s holding a gun to your head). It is your legal right to defend yourself physically, even if the attacker has only threatened you and not yet struck. No matter the size of your attacker, there are a few areas that will always be vulnerable, such as the eyes, throat, shins, and groin. Aim for these and create an opportunity to escape.
If you find yourself in a questionable circumstance, escaping is your best option. A lot of the time, a criminal will try to lure you away from the scene. It is important that you DO NOT follow. Never get in a vehicle with someone you don’t know. Instead, do what you can to attract attention. Make loud noises, yell “FIRE!”, throw a rock at a window, throw your purse one way and run the other. Do whatever you can to distract the attacker and run away as soon as you have the chance.
Over to you: Have you ever been in an unsafe situation or have any other tips?
This post was written as a collaboration with Sabre to help keep women safe.