Based on the staggering amount of stories and stats out there, it seems legit to say that we can never completely protect ourselves from being attacked/assaulted. However, there are things we can do to reduce the risk in certain situations. Of course life cannot be lived to the fullest if we’re constantly paranoid and looking over our shoulders, but you’d be surprised how many little tweaks here and there can get us out of sticky (and sometimes potentially dangerous) situations.
Personal safety is a must and does not require you to be able to kick ass with some high tech self defence moves (always handy to know a few though) when someone jumps you. But preventative thinking might minimize the risk of having to use those moves in the first place.
A lot of these will probably sound very familiar, in which case take it as a refresher, but even if just one person walks away from reading this post with some new information that could help in a unsafe situation, it’s worth it.
1) Be Prepared: “What if..”
You know how sometimes you lie in bed and wonder: “If the Zombie Apocalypse were to happen, where would I hide and what would I do?” Apply that totally random thinking to potential everyday situations. This doesn’t mean you need to check the bed every night for a burglar or walk every dark street with shaky legs… but rather picture yourself in various unsafe situations and ask yourself what you would/could? (E.g: if someone were to jump you as you pass that alley, if someone were to enter your home/hotel room, if someone grabs you in the bar etc).
I read somewhere that a man, afraid of flying, would always quickly picture what he would do in case of a crash. Low and behold, this dude did in fact experience a plane crash and his brain kicked into fight mode as he was able to save his family while other passengers still sat stunned in their seats. All because he had mentally prepared himself as to what he would do in the event of..
2) Turn Down the Music
When walking on your own or going for a jog, be alert (this does not mean jumping at every noise) but make sure your headphones are not too loud or that your attention is not solely on your phone screen, and be aware of where you are going.
3) Key in Hand
When walking to your car, hold your car keys in your fist with the point sticking out. In the event of a possible attack, it can be used as a ‘jabby’ little weapon to get away (doing this all the time will help turning it into a useful little habit as well). Note: Please don’t start jabbing people who stole your parking spot or the annoying toddler chucking a tantrum…potential attackers only!
4) Drinks Up
The good old ‘watch your drink’ in a bar tip. Easier said than done, but an important one none the less, as it happens way too often. Watch your drink or have a friend watch it for you. If a random stranger offers to buy you a beer, accompany them to the bar. If you start feeling weird, and believe your drink may have been spiked, alert a friend or security staff straight away. Better to make a fool of yourself then to end up in a bath full of ice missing a kidney (overreaction I know, but you catch my drift)
5) Car Park Safety
When you’re walking to your car and see a van or other suspicious looking vehicle parked next to yours, there is nothing wrong looking like a total idiot crawling into your car through the passenger side.
Always glance at the backseat before getting in and lock your doors immediately. Again, this may sound like a paranoid checklist, but doing these things regularly will turn them into fast and efficient habits and you won’t even realise you do them after a while.
6) Dress to Impress
I most certainly do not believe that a person’s style or how they look is a justification for being attacked, (‘no’ mean s ‘no’ mother f*%&r)but certain little tweaks can help in a sticky situation. Wearing your hear in a pony tail whilst jogging can make it easier for someone to grab on to (of course we don’t all run around with a perfect blow dried do, but perhaps consider putting your hair in a tighter bun). Wearing clothing that isn’t too easy to remove can sometimes also deter possible attackers.
7) ‘Confront or on Fire’
Often confronting someone who you believe is following you, can throw them off their game. You don’t have to 180 leap on them screaming ‘why you following me rapeeeerrrrr!!’ but simply asking for the time (as you take a good look at them) can be enough. Attackers often prefer to jump someone who hasn’t seen their face. In the unsafe event of being hassled, you’re better off calling out ‘FIRE’ in order to attract attention as people don’t react as swiftly to ‘help me’ anymore.
8) Strength in Numbers
When going to an event where you don’t know many people, it’s always good to go with a friend or two. Touch base with each other throughout the night and try to leave together or tell each other when you go home. Note: Probably not a good idea when you’re going on a date.. bit awkward…but you can always adjust and just let your friends know where you will be and who you are meeting.
9) Body Language
Walking with your head up, confident and determined to where you are headed, can go a long way. This doesn’t mean you need to puff up your chest and walk as if you’re looking for a fight, death staring every stranger that crosses your path.
10) Trust Your Gut
There is no better risk radar than your own instinct. If you don’t feel safe around someone, avoid being alone with them. If a little voice warns you to watch out for that street, walk around the block.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
A total cliché, I know, but true nonetheless