While this article speaks specifically to and for women, most of these tips apply to everyone. Anyone can be a victim of an attack, but here are 10 tips that might help you stay safe and protect yourself.
Be Aware. This is the most important and your first priority. It doesn’t matter what is going on, whether you are with a group of your friends or by yourself; you need to be aware of yourself and your surroundings at all times. Most people who are seeking to attack someone are looking for the people that aren’t paying attention, because they can surprise them and have an immediate upper-hand in the situation. The more aware of your surroundings, the less of a target you are. In most cases, this means walking confidently, looking around consistently, and staying off your phone.
Use and trust your instinct. Instinct, or the sixth sense as many like to refer to it, is a powerful tool at your disposal. If you are feeling uncomfortable in a situation, it means that you need to find a way out sooner, rather than later, because most of the time, your instinct is right.
Learn some basic defense moves. No matter where you are, especially here in Tennessee, there are several places that offer self-defense for women at little to no cost simply in an effort to teach moves that may save our lives. Knowing just a few of these can make sure that you can protect yourself when the time comes.
Learn to run. This isn’t so much literally running, although it may help. Your first goal ever is to escape from the situation even before contact. If someone approaches you and insists that you are coming with them, make a run for it, make some noise, bring some attention to yourself, whatever you can do to get away is your best bet. Going with them increases your chances of being hurt or worse, so run and run fast.
Sometimes running actually means fighting. Though we like to think that we will never get into a physical confrontation, all too often it happens. If your attacker has their hand on you or is in your personal space and won’t heed your warnings, then you have the right to fight your way out. Just remember that you may only get one chance, so when you strike, make sure you are injuring them, not just hurting them.
Learn to use pepper spray, but expect to run away immediately. Many people tout pepper spray as the be-all-end-all to self-defense, but there are some drawbacks to it. One, it usually takes time to get it to where you need it, and second, it doesn’t always work. It’s thought by many that pepper spray simply doesn’t work on 15-20% of the population. The only thing it might do is surprise them, so take the opportunity to run away immediately during that moment of surprise.
Learn how to handle home invasions. Keep windows and doors locked and never open the door unless you know the person outside. It’s suggested though that you don’t pretend like you’re not there, but instead make it clear that you are there. This often deters the person. Having a reinforced safe room that you can lock with a deadbolt is the best option. If you ever have to use it, bring your cell phone to call for help.
Stay safe in or by your car. Whenever you are out, you want to make sure that the doors on your car are always locked and your windows are rolled up all the way. This will keep most people from entering your car unexpectedly. When approaching it, you want to have your keys ready and make sure you can enter your car quickly if need be.
Be safe when traveling. Some of the worst crimes happen when traveling whether you are at a rest stop or even at a hotel. Just like when you are at home, never open the door to anyone that you don’t know. When in your room and you aren’t expecting someone, make sure all the locks are on and put into place. For extra security, secure a door wedge under the door to make sure someone doesn’t force their way in unexpectedly.
Stay safe online. This is one of the most important things in today’s age. There are many things that you can do online that can be fun and exciting, but it is even more important to protect yourself online. It’s best to use a nickname when talking to people online and always keep personal information to yourself and secured.
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