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7 Self-Protection Tips for Women

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7 Self-Protection Tips for Women

Even the most confident and fearless woman occasionally experiences a moment that makes her genuinely fearful. Perhaps it happens as she’s walking home alone—she sees a shadow moving too quickly, a man who gazes at her a little too long, or a small sound that indicates she’s not as alone as she thought she was. Being attacked is every woman’s worst nightmare, and this fear is preyed upon and fostered by hysterical email forwards and news stories that make it seem like we’re at risk every moment of the day.

Preemptive Protection

The sad truth is that one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, according to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN). Thousands of other women every year are victims of muggings, purse snatchings, and other forms of violence. Contrary to what some scaremongers would have us believe, there actually aren’t psychopaths and potential rapists lurking in every corner, waiting to attack the next woman who walks by, but it’s still smart for women to know the basics of how to avoid being victims, and, if necessary, how to defend themselves.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. This is the best way to remain safe. No matter where you are, be vigilant. Keep your eyes and ears open for people in the area, possible hazards, and available escape routes. That means if you’re walking home alone at night, no mindless chattering on a cell phone, and no listening to an MP3 player. Anyone looking to commit a crime of opportunity will be searching for the easiest target, and headphones are a sure sign that you’re distracted and vulnerable. Your hearing is a valuable tool—don’t shut it down when you need it most.
  • Project an air of confidence. Criminals seek to target women who look like they won’t fight back. Walk with purpose; even if you don’t know where you’re going, pretend that you do. If someone appears to be following you, don’t meekly avoid his gaze. Turn around and look him in the eye. Not only does that give you a chance to get a good look at a potential attacker (thus making it easier for you to identify him later), but making eye contact is also an aggressive gesture that suggests you’re not afraid.
  • Don’t feel pressured to be nice. Many opportunists prey on women’s natural inclination to be helpful. If you’re alone and a stranger asks for directions, the time, or help looking for his keys/car/contact lenses/puppy, it’s okay to say, “Sorry,” and keep moving. While not every man who requests assistance is a potential attacker, many potential attackers do use these tactics to distract their victims.
  • Never carry more than you can afford to lose. If you’re the victim of a purse snatching or mugging, don’t risk injury fighting to save your possessions—let them go. A wallet’s worth of cash can make you think you have to put up a fight, but your life is worth more than the contents of your purse. Keep your house keys in a pocket when you’re walking, so that if a mugger or robber gets your purse, you’ll still be able to get into your home, and the assailant won’t have access to it.
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Read more: Guidance, Life, News & Issues, Self-Help, Spirit, , , ,

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

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Samantha, selected from DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

317 comments

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5:54AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Thank you Samantha, for Sharing this!

10:23AM PST on Nov 10, 2012

Thank you.

7:08AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

12:14AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Thanks

4:38AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

These tips could mean the difference between life and death. Thank you.

1:33AM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Thank you for the tips. This comes just as a 21yr girl was raped & murdered by her neighbor in Gresham OR. As for me... I have fought and would fight again! Unfortunately, It doesn't appear that this young woman did...;( Prayers, Strength & Understanding for her family and all those whom have suffered at the had of another.

6:00AM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

Some really good tips here to help keep people safe and feeling more confident when out alone!

5:39PM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

The rest of my comment below reads...As I said it happened quickly & even though I was hurt I was basically OK physically so I chose not to go to the hospital. I was never able to go out of the building when it was dark unless I had someone else with me or neighbors & I would talk while I went from my car to the building. The guy got away with my purse & it's contents & my feelings of being safe. I wasn't sexually assaulted but felt violated in front of my home. Like Sheleen I was scared when alone outside in the dark & even sometimes when I was not alone. It took a long time for most of those feelings of fear to dissipate. I always felt vulnerable no matter how hard I tried not to. I moved within two years. I still have my house & car keys on separate key rings & at some point after moving I'm back to being just as vulnerable as I imagine others do.

The article had good information, however, there are those times when one does not know 100% what they will do in an assortment of situations.
I thank-you for reading this.

5:35PM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Thank-you for the informative article. I was mugged back in the early to mid 1980's. I'm an RN & was coming home after working the 3:00 - 11:30PM shift. I always thought I'd know what to do were I ever encountered with that situation. And I also wondered would I actually do it. As Sheleen A. stated in her comment on 10/15/12, you do not always think rationally when it is happening. I had entertained the idea of having a hammer for the short walk across the street where I parked my car & up the walk into the apartment building until I was told I'd get one chance to use it & thus I must make it a strong hit. After that my hammer would be used on me so I negated that idea. I had done this hundreds of times & walked quickly yet felt safe. It happened so quickly, no time for listening to my gut/my instinct. Before I knew it I was on the ground. Fortunately for me I had acquired the habit of putting my house keys & car keys on separate key rings so I was able to get inside the building & my apartment after. Once inside the building I pushed the button provided that went directly to the Police Station & they knew where it was coming from. The policeman who responded & took the report was the husband of a RN I worked with. I asked him how one human could do this to another. I was told that they (those who mug, purse-snatch, rape, etc) think differently than he & I did. As I said it happened quickly & even though I was hurt I was basically OK ph

6:45PM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

Thanks for the information. I also consider a great self-protection tip is travel in groups and make sure someone knows where you are at all times.

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