Take a self-defense and personal safety training class. These programs teach specific skills for noticing and avoiding a dangerous encounter. Learning confidence and physical strategies is empowering and as such, we are perceived as less of a target or victim. Often, just by having the skills and knowing we can perform them if needed, our self-esteem improves. We hold their head up higher, walk with more confidence and give the impression that we are alert, deliberate and strong.
1. Establish a Buddy System and build a close circle of friends to stay in touch with daily. Checking in with a friend and having them check in on you offers a sense of security and personal connection so that if anything goes wrong or seems suspicious, you can discuss it in real time.
2. Keep doors and windows locked and install a peephole in the door. DO NOT feel the need to open the door – ever. Make sure you recognize the person at the door and that they are welcome in your home.
3. When shopping, take a friend and park as close as possible to the entrance of the shop. Shop during daylight, keep purchases in the trunk, lock your doors when you get into the vehicle.
4. If you feel uneasy about someone approaching your vehicle, press the horn until the person leaves.
5. Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Make brief eye contact, hold your head up and look confident.
6. Do not carry valuable information in your purse or wallet. Make photocopies of important cards and carry the copies with you – never the originals. Authorities will accept a photocopy of driver’s licenses and health care cards. The only original cards you will need are your debit care and credit card.
7. Carry a small handbag or purse close to your body on your shoulder and under your arm. Never loop your purse over your head. If a thief attempts to steal your purse, your personal safety is at risk if you try to hand onto it. Men: carry your wallet in your front pocket.
8. While riding public transit, sit close to the driver and stay awake and alert. Never open your purse on the bus – hold it closed on your lap.
9. If you feel threatened or uneasy, hold your hands up in front of you and shout firmly “NO”, or “STOP” or “STAY BACK”. No need to be polite, no need to be friendly.
10. If you are grabbed or assaulted, strike back at the perpetrator:use your fists or elbows, kick shins or knees, stomp on their foot, strike their throat or ears. Make sure you are attracting attention from others – many times this will cause the attacker to leave you alone.