First of all, let’s be clear on one thing: if anything bad happens to you, it is not your fault. Victim blaming is one of the most toxic things in modern society and we need to be much more careful about the way we talk about victims of crime and other people’s terrible behavior. The ‘burden of being careful’ is something that affects all women. Having said that, there are some common sense things you can do to try your best to stay safe. Here goes…
Remember That Escaping Is The Best Plan
As a general rule, no matter how many self defense classes you’ve taken or how physically strong you are, it isn’t a good idea to stand your ground and attempt to fight. Additionally, never leave where you are and go somewhere with an attacker, even if they promise that they won’t hurt you.
If you do get stopped on the street and you’re in danger, draw attention to yourself – make a noise, scream, or do anything to get people to look out of their windows and see you, even if that means throwing a rock through a window.
Possessions Aren’t Worth Risking Your Safety
If someone wants to steal your bag, throw it away from you and then run in the opposite direction. No matter what you have in there, it isn’t as important as your physical safety. Make sure you keep some money in your pocket to help you get home safely.
Be Safe In Your Car
When you get into your car, make sure that you glance underneath it beforehand, and check out the back seat to make sure there’s no one hiding there. If a large van has parked next to the driver’s side, get in on the passenger side and move over to the driver’s seat. If you’re sitting in your car waiting to pick someone up, make sure that all the doors are locked.
Keep Your Keys in Hand
Make sure that you have your keys ready in your hand before you leave your house in the morning so you don’t have to stand in the street and fumble through your bag. This is actually a tip I was taught in a safety class by the school police officer. He showed us how to hold our keys and thread them through our fingers while walking, and recommended that we especially carry them like that when alone in the dark. Not only are you ready to unlock your car and get in immediately, but you have a good method of self-defense if you need it.
Be Aware On Nights Out
One thing that you must know: if a woman gets attacked when she’s drunk, it is not her fault. It is solely the fault of the attacker. Being drunk doesn’t make a woman any more deserving of getting attacked – but unfortunately it does make it more likely to happen, because predators are attracted to vulnerability and a drunk person’s guard is down.
Never Leave Your Drink Unattended
Make sure that when you’re drinking, you’re in the company of trusted friends who will make sure you get home safe, and that you return the favor for them. Watch your drink very carefully – never leave it unattended when you’re out, because it’s easy for people to spike them.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you if you decide to get public transport home at the end of the night. Don’t listen to your headphones, don’t stick your nose in a book/stare at your phone intently. You need to be actively aware of what is going on around you.
Make Sure Your Home Is Secure
It’s important to remember that safety isn’t just something that you have to think of when you’re out and about. Your home is a place where you should feel safe and secure, and where you should actually be safe and secure. The main thing you should do is ensure that your doors and windows are locked at all times, especially at night.
Install a Security System
If you don’t already have a security system, it’s vital that you get one installed. Secure Penguin recently reviewed Scout Alarm, is a great system for young people – but take a look online to find one that works well for you. There are so many options now for more than just an alarm, and things like doorbell cameras and motion lights can help a ton.
Be Careful Who You Give Access to Your Home
If you’re having a party, make sure that everyone attending is someone you know and trust, and never share your address publicly. If you have spare keys, make sure anyone who holds them or knows where they are is trustworthy.
Save As Much Money As You Can
Put a percentage of every paycheck into an easily accessible bank account. Building up your savings gives you one of the most important things in the world – freedom. If you’re burdened by debt, it’s almost impossible to leave a job where your boss creeps you out or an abusive relationship, whereas if you have some savings you have the freedom to move on and do whatever you want. Having that security cushion of a good savings account can also help you out if something should happen to put your safety at risk.
Trust Your Intuition
If something about a situation feels strange to you, leave. Never feel bad about it – your safety should be your priority over someone else’s hurt feelings. If you’ve gone over to a guy’s house for dinner, and he gets a little too handsy and you’re uncomfortable with it, get out of there and go home. If you’re worried about his reaction and you don’t want to be upfront about why you’re leaving, plead stomach problems – it’s difficult to argue with that.
Be Prepared to Follow That Intuition
Download the Uber app and keep a couple of numbers of local licensed cab companies written down on a piece of paper in your pocket. If you have a feeling that you can’t explain about someone or a situation, it’s likely because your subconscious has been picking up on signs that your conscious mind may have missed, like tone of voice or body language.
How do you stay safe?
Leave your tips in the comments below to help others be safe.