No matter how safe a country is, there is always a chance that a woman who is out late at night on her own can encounter trouble and violence from someone who is looking to commit a crime of opportunity.
Statistics in the US show that crimes against women are on the rise. During times of crisis when law enforcement is busy dealing with various incidents, crime will be even higher because of a lack of policing.
While being in the wrong place at the wrong time could be attributed to bad luck in some cases, upon closer examination, most violent crimes against women can be avoided just by taking a few safety precautions.
In this article, we'll look at what they are and why you should adhere to them. Your life just may depend upon your compliance with these tips.
* Avoid going out too early in the morning or too late at night. This may seem obvious, but it highlights a very important point. Crime often occurs when there are less people around.
* Walk confidently. Criminals think twice when they see someone who looks self-assured and confident. Huddling into your coat and walking with a hunch makes you look like easy prey. Appearances do make a difference.
* Keep your eyes up. Always scan your surroundings. Most attacks against women happen from behind or in corners where the perpetrator can take you by surprise. Being aware of your environment will make you less susceptible to attack.
* A common mistake people make these days is staring at their mobile screens as they walk, oblivious to everything around them. This is a surefire way to get taken by surprise by a criminal who knows that you're unaware. Do not use your mobile when walking alone.
* Don't park your car too far away. If you work late, you're better off getting building security to escort you to your car. If you need to go to the mall, park your car as close to the entrance as possible or ask mall security to follow you to your car. Most of them will gladly do it.
* If you're walking along roads, always walk facing the traffic. You don't want a van pulling up behind you and someone jumping out and dragging you in.
* If a stranger approaches you, never allow them to get within your personal space. They should be kept at arm's length and always appear confident and not nervous.
* Carry a tactical flashlight with you. If walking out late, you can use it to illuminate dark areas. Having one in your hand when you walk will allow you to immediately use the strobe lights from the flashlight to temporarily blind your opponent while you get away.
* Pepper spray, firearms, stun guns, etc. are all useful for protecting yourself, but you must be trained to use them well and quickly. Even pepper spray which is easy enough to use can seem complicated and you may fumble when you're nervous.
Always have these items handy and easily deployable if the need arises. If someone accosts you at the parking lot but your stun gun is inside your car dashboard, it's not going to be of much help.
* Avoid extravagance. Expensive jewelry, clothes, bags, etc. attract attention and criminals are always watching. If you're alone, you're better off dressing in a simple way and avoiding unnecessary attention. This is a sad indictment of the society we live in but I'm afraid had to be said.
* Avoid shortcuts. This should not even need to be said, but there are countless women who have been murdered by taking shortcuts or going through back alleys just to get home sooner.
Since people are creatures of habit, they usually don't realize that the shortcut that's taken during the day quite safely because it's bright and there are people around, becomes much more sinister at night when it's dark and lonely.
Take the longer well-lit route. It's best to ask someone from the family to meet you at the driveway just to ensure that you do not get dragged off the moment you step out of your car. If someone is dropping you off, make sure they wait till you enter your house.
* Be wary of strangers. If it's late and someone tries to ask you for directions or mentions something about car trouble, tell him you're not sure or can't help and he has to find someone else. Do not try to be a good Samaritan and end up becoming a victim.
These tips should keep you safe for the most part. Ideally, you should learn some self-defense techniques and keep practicing till they become second nature to you. In the event you're struggling with an assailant, these techniques will be instinctive and could save your life.
Awareness is the key to staying safe. Be alert of your surroundings and the people in it. Just by being aware of what's going on around you, you'll not be taken by surprise and will reduce your risks of becoming a victim. That's the first and most important step. Do get it right.