The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that nearly 18 million women have been raped since 1998. While 55 percent of incidents occur in or near a victim’s home, 15 percent occur in a public space. The Journal of Intimate Violence reports that Black women experience assault at a higher rate than any other race. It can be scary for women to simply walk to work, walk your dog at night, meet a blind date, hop in a cab or do any of the things many men do without giving it much thought.
There is help available to victims of assault, but the reality is that experiencing assault can cause serious physical damage – sometimes life-changing – as well as psychological trauma that can take years to recover from, if the victim ever recovers. It’s wonderful that resources exist to help victims, but like with anything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. That’s why it’s so important women gather knowledge on how to protect themselves against stranger danger and physical violence.
Be Mindful Of Lonely Spaces
Source: PixelCatchers / GettyThink twice about solitary and enclosed spaces. Be aware of your surroundings when riding elevators, walking through tunnels, 24-hour laundry mats, pumping gas, using an ATM. Watch out for suspicious people on subway platforms and cars.
Check Your Selfie
Predators can use the Internet to stalk victims. Today, we accept friend requests and get follows from hundreds of individuals, and can’t always keep track of who is watching us. So, very cautious about what you post. A predator can put pieces of information together to find out where you live, where you work or places you frequent. When taking a selfie, make sure your home address isn’t somewhere in the back or your cross streets. Do not post anything that gives away the physical location of your work. Analyze every photo with a critical eye before posting to ensure there isn’t personal information on it.
Parking Lot Safety
There are many reasons it’s a good idea to arrive early at your destination. Safety is one of them. Arriving early allows you the time to get the safest parking spot, even if you need to wait for one to open up. Look for a spot as close to the entrance as possible, to shorten your walk from the car to your destination, and to keep you near other people. Avoid parking near structures that someone could hide beneath or behind, like stairways or pillars. If you’ll be arriving during daylight but leaving after sundown, remember to park near a light so you don’t return to your car in the dark.
Never Go Home If Followed
If you ever sense that you are being followed, do not go home. Going home shows a predator where they can find you in the future. This is especially important to consider if you live alone. If you are in your car, circle around until you lose the person following you. If you are on foot, go near a business or near people. Don’t be shy about ducking into any sort of business and telling someone about the situation for help. Most people will be happy to give you a place to remain until you feel safe again.
Carry A Small Weapon
As a woman, it’s important to always carry something that would give you the upper hand in an attack. Unfortunately, because of the way they are built, men often have more upper body strength than women and attempting to fight them off might not be a success. However, keeping a small weapon with you such as a stun gun, taser, mace or kubotan (a keychain dagger-like stick) can give you the upper hand in an attack. If you don’t have such a weapon and believe an attack might occur, look around you for a blunt object like a candle or a brick–and don’t hesitate to use it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Assertive
An Achilles heel for many women has nothing to do with physical strength but rather social conditioning. Women are primed to to be polite and pleasing. So, it goes against everything in our instincts to turn down a situation that may lead to danger. “No. I don’t want a ride from you” or “No. Do not help me with these bags” or “No, I’ll pump my own gas” have surely spared lives. Put your safety above being polite. If this someone has good intentions, they’ll understand and if a person had bad intentions, then who cares if you offended him anyway?
When Necessary, Hit Where It Hurts
If you do find yourself without a weapon and a physical attack occurs, know where a man’s weak spots are. Aim for the eyes, groin or throat. Even simply spitting or throwing water in a man’s eyes can distract him enough for a moment so you can get away. And punching someone in the throat knocks the wind out of them, making it difficult for them to function. It’s no secret that a man who has been kneed in the groin is out of commission for a while.