Top 5 Tips for Womens Personal Safety
Are We Naïve?
I would like to give women some tips on a few things you can do to make yourself safer when you go out. Some of this information has come to me from safety specialist and law enforcement officials. Some of this information comes from personal experience. Fathers, brothers, husbands and sons as well as ourselves should review these tips on womens personal safety.
Being the age I am, 50 plus, I have learned a lot from life. There is one thing that I continue to see that really frightens me. That is the naivety of most women regarding their personal safety. Ladies, please don't be offended. We, as women, think more with our hearts than our heads sometimes. We tend to presume that most people are good at heart and mean us no harm. This is not always true. Sometimes we put ourselves in dangerous situations without realizing it.
Crime against women is on the rise. Approximately 2 million women are assaulted in the United States each year. Approximately 1 in 6 women have reported either an attempted or a completed sexual attack. These numbers are only the ones that have been reported. Most women do not report sexual abuse, either because they are afraid or they are ashamed that they "let" it happen. Most sexual assaults are not by "strangers", but by people we already know.
Personal Short Story
A short story from a personal experience that taught me to think before I act!
I spent about 15 minutes in a dimly lit warehouse, alone, with a serial rapist! Fifteen minutes may not sound like much time, but it can take less time than that for an assault to occur. I will keep this short. I was to meet a friend of mine at a warehouse he owned where he stored merchandise for his business. I arrived about 15 minutes too early and found that my friend was not there yet. There was one person still there, a young man in his mid-twenties, I will call him Sam. Sam seemed very nice, he didn’t give me the “creeps” or anything. I had not met him before, but he seemed like a very nice guy. He offered to stay with me until my friend arrived. I should have “thought” right here and said “No thanks, I will just come back by in a little while”. But no, I agreed and like an idiot, went into the warehouse with him.
The warehouse was rather small and dimly lit. The only light that was there was from the windows and I didn’t see any light switches. I still didn’t have a bad feeling about anything, so we chit chatted for a while and he began walking towards the back of the warehouse. Then he asked if I wanted a soda from the machine in the back. Ok, my brain finally started working and I realized I did not want to go to the back of this warehouse with him. I told him that I really didn’t want anything to drink, but he kept insisting. I finally agreed but told him that I really didn’t like being in dark places, and asked if he would mind going to get it for me. He kind of laughed at me and said he would be right back. Of course at that moment, I went back outside and went to my car. When he came back out, he acted a little mift at me, but I really didn’t care. By this time my friend arrives and Sam says his good-byes and leaves. I didn't think any more about it.
Now it is about 3 weeks later and I get a phone call from my friend telling me that the police has arrested Sam the night before just as he was breaking into a house and about to rape his 13th victim! He would stalk single women and find out where they lived. Later at night he would break in to their homes, tie them up with their bras or stockings and rape them. They had labeled him the “Northside Rapist”! OMG!!! Luckily, I didn’t live in town, if he had tried to follow me home, he would have had to drive almost 2 hours, I guess he thought I wasn’t worth it! Thank God!
Nothing bad happened to me that day, but, I had allowed myself to be put in a very dangerous situation. Ladies, we need to think about what we are doing or where we are going. Below are some things for you to think about and some safety tips on what you can do to help keep yourself safer.
One of the most important things you can do is to pay attention to your surroundings! If you are in the parking lot walking to your car, keep your head up and look around. Don't be distracted by talking on your cell phone. You don't want to look like an "easy mark". Most women that are attacked in parking lots are not paying attention to their surroundings and do not see their attackers until it is too late. Think about this, if you were a predator, whom would you choose to attack? Would it be the woman that is walking at a brisk pace and paying attention to her surroundings or the woman who is not paying attention and talking on her cell phone?
If a man approaches you in a parking lot, continue walking until you are either around other people or out in the open. If you have bags in your hand, be prepared to drop them. Better yet, put your bags in a buggy if possible to keep your hands free. Have your keys already in your hand. Be prepared to get into your car quickly, you don't want to be digging in your purse for your keys and let someone walk up behind you. Keep in mind that you can use your keys as a weapon if you need to. Go for the eyes and the throat. Carry a small can of pepper spray on your key chain. If you have an alarm button on your key, use it if necessary. It will attract attention to you.
Before you get in your car, look around. Is there anyone just "hanging around" near you? Is there a van parked next to you with someone inside? If so, keep going. Most women are attacked just as they are getting into their car. Get in your car quickly and once inside your vehicle, immediately lock the doors and be on your way. My best friend was attacked just as she was getting in her car one day in the Wal-Mart parking lot. A man grabbed her door just as she was closing it. Luckily he did not have a good grasp and she was able to close the door, lock it and started honking her horn. He ran away and she drove off and called the police.
Experts say that women tend to be sympathetic and want to help. Statistics have shown that serial killers tend to play on the sympathies of woman and lure them into dangerous situations. Sure you want to help someone in need, but be smart about it. If a man approaches you asking for help, be courteous but keep walking. Tell the person, as you are walking away, that you are going to get help. You can always use your cell phone to call for help from a safe location or find someone else to go back with you. It is very rare that a man is going to ask a woman for help. (It's just a man thing.)
If anyone attempts to stop you on a back road, don't stop, be sure your doors are locked and keep going! If they attempt to block your way, back up and keep going. You can call the authorities and let them know that someone needs help at that location. Ladies, never stop for anyone on a back road! Many criminals have been known to use another woman to lure their victim into stopping, while they are waiting where they can't be seen. Criminals have even used children to get you to stop. If someone appears to be injured, you can pull farther up the road and call for help, but don't get out of your car or turn off the engine. If that person begins coming towards you, keep moving forward. Do not let that person get close to you!
Stairwells and Elevators
Take the elevator instead of the stairs if you are alone. Many assaults on women happen in stairwells, especially at night. They may be lying in wait for an unsuspecting woman to come down the stairs and grab you or your purse. When you get on the elevator by yourself, stand directly in front of the door. If you have an uneasy feeling, you can get off quickly. Don't get caught in the back corner of a crowded elevator. That is a very easy place for some creep to get a quick hand some place that it doesn't belong!
Listen to Your Inner Voice
Listen to your inner voice. If for some reason you do get that uneasy feeling, there is probably a good reason for it. You don't have to overreact, just get out of the situation as quickly as possible. I can look back on several "close calls" that I have had in my life and I realize that I had that uneasy feeling and almost waited to long to do something about it. Luckily, I was able to stay in control of the situation and walk away. Now that I have said that, don't depend on that uneasy feeling to warn you that something is not right. Don't put yourself in a dangerous situation to start with. Think about where you are going and what you are doing first.
Mothers, tell your daughters. Brothers, tell your sisters. I know, they are going to tell you that you are just paranoid, but tell them anyway! It's so important for their safety. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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