Some 1.9 million women are physically assaulted annually in the United States, and 15-25% of all American women will report a sexual attack or rape at some time in their lives. And majority of sexual assaults go unreported. The highest rates of sexual violence occurred against women age 34 or younger. While men can also be victims of such violent crimes perpetrated by women, the vast majority are committed by men against women.
Here are some personal safety tips:
- Avoid a person or a situation which does not feel you safe.
- As far as possible go in groups, never alone.
- Be Paranoid and Suspicious. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
- Being mentally alert is the greatest weapon you can ever have.
- Don’t open your house door without knowing who is on the other side.
- Dress to Kill. Clogs, high heels, and tight skirts are hard to run and fight in, while scarves and long necklaces are easy to grab. Modify your fashion style or wear comfortable clothing when walking alone.
- Always carry a door wedge with you when you travel. A wedge is often stronger than the door it secures.
- Never get in a vehicle with a strangers regardless of what they tell you because it isn’t going to be good.
- Escape is always the best option. Run away, yell for help. Throw any item with you, do whatever you can to attract attention.
- Make Eye Contact. It is your first instinct to lower your gaze as you walk to your destination. Looking straight into the face of potential enemies is the better option. Eye contact scares off attackers for fear of your ability to identify them.
- Fight to escape. Men have certain physical advantages over women, including upper-body strength, height and body frame. Men physically assault women use their size, strength and terror tactics. The goal to fighting back is to escape. Women should not struggle against an assailant's greatest strengths. That will just exhaust yourself. Wait for the moment when he's distracted. Use that close proximity to strike back. Strike the eyes, knees, throat or groin or use both of your palms to clap him hard on both ears which will disorient him. Any move you make, you must have a chance to run and it's explosive.
- If the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. When walking alone, women should avoid being distracted and should pay attention to their surroundings. Present strong body language and walk confidently. Don’t be on your cellphone when you're walking to your car.
- In a parking lot, look at the cars parked on either side of your vehicle. If a male in a vehicle is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, or if you are parked next to a van, always enter your car from the side opposite the strange vehicle. If the parking lot is particularly dark or deserted, it may be wise to go back and find a friend or guard who can walk you to your car.
- Keep eyes and ears open, hands free. Be alert to who and what is around you. Talking on a cell phone or listening to headphones makes you easy prey for a predator. The only reason you should be using your mobile phone is notify a friend of your whereabouts or to call for help. Make sure that your hands are free to defend.
- Predator’s game plan is the element of surprise. Predators are good liars and they're good at staging a false reality. They lower your guard, gain your trust and get close to you. If you feel uneasy in a certain neighborhood, it's likely that your gut is telling you to get out of there.
- Run, Run, Run. If the predator has a gun but you are not under his control, take off. Predator will only hit you, a running target, four out of every 100 shots. And even then, it most likely will not be a vital organ.
- If you do decide to fight, make sure your first move is as forceful as possible. It may be your only hope.
- Every predator fears of getting caught or getting hurt. Don't act as the predator expects you to. Shouting at them out might cause them to back off. Even if a predator says 'No', women should still be vocal. Yelling or screaming attracts attention. If it's a theft, you might want to give him your wallet. If the assailant wants you to go with him somewhere then you have to do everything in your power to prevent it. Once he gets you to an abandoned area, there may be no way to escape and the likelihood that you will be seriously injured increases tenfold. So if that means yelling or screaming, do it. Stay Put. So do whatever it takes and never give up.
- Regularly change your walking routine. Plan out a few different routes that you can take and mark out safe houses in your mind at intervals along the way.
- If you find yourself alone with a strange male while entering lift in a high rise apartment late at night. Enter the lift and if you need to reach the 13th floor, press all the buttons up to your destination. No one will dare attack you in a lift that stops on every floor.
- If a stranger tries to attack you when you are alone in your house, run into the kitchen. You alone know where the chili powder and turmeric are kept. And where the knives and plates are. If nothing else, start throwing plates and utensils all over. Let them break. Scream. Remember that noise is the greatest enemy of a molester. He does not want to be caught.
- While getting into an auto or taxi at night, note down its registration number. Then use the mobile to call your family or friend and pass on the details to them in the language the driver understands. Even if no one answers your call, pretend you are in a conversation. The driver now knows someone has his details and he will be in serious trouble if anything goes wrong. He is now bound to take you home safe and sound.
- If the driver turns into a street he is not supposed to and you feel you are entering a danger zone. Use the handle of your purse or your dupatta to wrap around his neck and pull him back. Within seconds, he will feel choked and helpless. In case you don’t have a purse or stole just pull him back by his collar. The top button of his shirt would then do the same trick.
- If you are stalked at night. Enter a shop or a house and explain your predicament. If it is night and shops are not open, go inside an ATM centre. They always have close circuit television. Fearing identification, no one will dare attack you.
- Try Anything and Everything. Additional approaches are offering your wallet, jumping out at a stoplight, doing something to cause an accident, or signaling to other drivers.
- Some women choose to carry pepper spray or a firearm as a method of defense. While that’s fine, make sure that you know how to use your weapon of choice properly and effectively. Some people will not be incapacitated even by a full-face pepper spray. If you’re carrying it in your purse, you will only waste time and alert the attacker to your intentions while you fumble for it.
- Never depend on any self-defense tool or weapon to stop an attacker. Trust your body and your wits, which you can always depend on in the event of an attack.
- Don’t carry anything if you’re not willing to use it because then it just becomes something that the bad guy can take and use against you.
- Avoiding a car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.
- In case of driving a car and minor accident, never get down. Make sure doors are all locked and windows up until police turns up. If you need to speak to some one, lower glass an inch to talk. Be sure engine is running. Or situation permitting drive on to the nearest police post or station and report.
- You return to your car and it has a flat tire. Back away. Return to wherever you came from (restaurant, store, etc) and call for help. If someone comes up to you and wants to offer help, say, No. If a man, he could be a predator. If a woman, she could be the lurer.
Prevention is better than cure
Avoiding situations of danger is far easy than facing, fighting and surviving. Women must be aware of and avoid dangerous situations around them. In most cases, pedestrians or public transport users especially during odd hours are vulnerable. Women in cars are relatively safe. Women in groups are far safer than single. The victims and their families of kidnap, rape and murder suffer agony for prolonged periods. There is no society, in this world, which provides absolute safety for women. Women must keep themselves informed about the risks and avoiding them is prudent. Parents must take care of their young daughters.