Security For Women

Security For Women


Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when out walking alone? Have you ever wondered what you should do if approached by an attacker? Have you ever worried about becoming yet another home invasion statistic?

The sad reality is that we live in an increasingly violent society in which the fear of crime is ever-present. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for everyone, but especially for women.

We have put together some tips and strategies to help women protect themselves from violence at home and in public.

General Security Tips For Women

  • The first, and probably most important, component in self-defense and security for women is awareness: awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker's likely strategies.
  • The criminal's primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a "force presence," many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided thus increasing your security significantly.
  • If you see or sense safety/security problems on your way, just change your route and - prepare to run or defend yourself. Your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Learn to trust this power and use it to your full advantage. Avoid a person or a situation which does not "feel" safe--you're probably right.
  • Do not wear conspicuous jewelry when you are walking on the streets alone
  • Do not act or look like an easy target - look confident!
  • Most "fights" are won before they start, and many aggressors will back down if you maintain eye contact and are not intimidated by them.

Safety and Security For Women On Public Transport:

  • Do not hitchhike, use public transport or taxis instead
  • Remember, that for women there is usually safety in numbers. Wait in a coffee shop or in a well-lit area near other people if possible for the public transport to arrive and try to arrange for someone to meet you at the bus stop or station.
  • Don't choose the window seat as you may be "blocked in" by a potential assailant; always choose an aisle seat for quick exit
  • After peak hours, always choose the train compartment carrying the most passengers or the compartment directly behind the train driver. If there are security guards try to sit near them.
  • On buses, sit as near as possible to the driver or next to the door for quick exit.
  • Have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so that your wallet is out of sight.
  • If you feel threatened make as much noise as possible to attract the attention of the driver or security guard.

Safety And Security For Women In Motor Vehicles:

  • Danger areas are stepping out of your car either at home or in isolated areas, and also walking to your car
  • Always approach your vehicle with the keys ready
  • Windows should be up and doors locked even when driving to avoid unwanted passengers at intersections. (Please note that this conflicts with quick entering and exit procedures in the event of an accident)
  • Always check your car before entering
  • Never leave your car unlocked, even for the few minutes it may take you to return a video, buy milk and so forth. Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an opportunity.
  • Never get into a car even if someone is pointing a knife or a handgun at you from inside. Just start to run away from the car screaming at the same time. It's much more likely that he will drive away to find an easier target than attacking or killing you. But if you get into the car, he has a much better opportunity to drive to a quiet place and start to abuse you and later maybe kill you.
  • Never pull your car over from a quiet road even if someone drives alongside your car pointing at the tyres etc. Always continue driving to a well-lit and crowded area before exiting your car. The problem might be a bluff and the driver wants you to stop at the side of the road to "help" you without a reason.
  • Always be alert to security issues in parking lots, specially when it's dark. If you are afraid, don't be too shy to ask someone to escort you to your car. Between cars and inside cars, it's easy for someone to hide and wait until an un-alert person comes along.
  • Avoiding Car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver's seat or jump in the passenger's seat.

Safety And Security For Women In Taxis

  • Always check the identification of the driver (usually located near the visor) and ensure that it matches the driver
  • Be wary of cars with central locking
  • Avoid flagging taxis from the street
  • Book a cab over the phone and when the cab arrives ask the driver his name and company. Ask what name he is expecting to collect.
  • Always try to share a cab with a friend.
  • Always sit in the back of a cab and if you get chatting to the driver do not give away personal details. If you feel uneasy with the driver, ask him to stop at a busy familiar place and get out.
  • Don't sit behind the driver as it may be easy for the driver to lock the rear passenger door - always choose the adjacent seat

Safety And Security For Women On Foot, Walking And Jogging.

  • Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted.
  • Whenever possible, walk with a friend or stay near a group of people.
  • Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
  • Always take the route you know best and stick to well lit, busy streets.
  • Look confident. Bullies tend to choose victims who look like an easy target.
  • Keep your mind on your surroundings and security: when wearing a walkman or MP3 player you will not hear trouble approaching.
  • Be careful of your safety and security when using an ATM. Do not count your money in the middle of the street.
  • If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road turning as you do to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, cross again. Keep moving. Make for a busy area and report your security and safety concerns to anyone who may be able to help you.
  • If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction: you can turn much faster than a car.
  • If shadowed by a car, run back in the direction from which you came. If you continue in the same direction, you will make it easy for the shadowing to continue
  • If you have car trouble and are walking to look for help, always walk against the traffic so that you can see what is coming
  • Never accept a lift with a stranger or someone you don't know very well even if you are wet, tired or very late.
  • Place valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket or use a body belt. If you are carrying things, use a small bag slung across your body under a jacket or coat. Ensure it sits close to your body.
  • Avoid confrontation. Do not meet aggression with aggression, a this is likely to escalate the situation. Talk your way out of problems, stay calm, and speak gently, slowly and clearly. Breathe out slowly to help you relax.
  • If you are trapped or in danger, yell or scream. Your voice is your best defense. Shout, 'Phone the police' or other specific instructions which people can understand easily.
  • Regularly change your routines
  • Mark out houses at intervals on each route you take that may be used as "safe houses" in the event of attack such as shops or houses that you know to be occupied by a friend or acquaintance. Try to incorporate these houses every time you vary your route
  • Don't presume that because your area has been "safe" thus far, that it will continue to be so.

Safety And Security For Women Using Public Phone Boxes

  • When you are calling from a telephone box, after dialing the numbers always turn around so that you have your back to the phone and may see what is coming. You will then be able to tell the person to whom you are speaking that you may be in trouble and you may be able to use the weight of the phone as a weapon. The door of a telephone box could be used to wedge in the limbs of the attacker.

Clothing: Dressing For Safety And Security For Women

  • Think about your clothing - where will it be worn? Will you be going out after work? Get into the habit of leaving restrictive clothing and shoes for those occasions when you are certain that you have no reason to anticipate danger, such as large crowds, being picked up after work or going out and so forth.
  • Choose a wardrobe that maximizes freedom of movement. The best self-defense and security techniques will not help you if you cannot run away because of tight skirts or shoes with straps and high heels. In these situations, it will be necessary to disable your attacker to ensure you are not followed unless you have some means of a quick exit such as a motor vehicle. This places additional, unnecessary pressure on you to be successful. Further, if you focus too much attention on disabling you opponent, you may not be sufficiently aware of an additional threat to yourself
  • Try to carry in your pocket
    • A mobile, a phone card or some spare change to make a phone call.
    • A couple of numbers for reputable cab firms in your area/ area you go out.
    • Money, keys and travel cards.
    • If possible carry a personal alarm and know how to use it to shock and disorientate an assailant so that you can get away.

Out Partying: Safety And Security For Women At Play

  • Getting drunk or taking drugs can dull your senses, which can be extremely dangerous to your personal safety and security.
  • Make sure you plan in advance how you are going to get home. The ideal plan is to book your cab in advance or, if you have the number of a licensed cab company with you, call from the party before leaving the venue. Alternatively ask your host or staff/security at the club or bar to recommend one.
  • Beware of spiked drinks.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Home Invasions:

  • The primary way to prevent a home invasion is simply to never, ever open your door unless you either are certain you know who's on the other side or can verify that they have a legitimate reason for being there (dressing up as a repair person or even police officer is one trick criminals use). In the event that an intruder breaks in while you're home, you should have a safe room in your house to which you can retreat. Such a room should be equipped with a strong door, deadbolt lock, phone (preferably cell phone), and a can of pepper spray or fire extinguisher.

A Travel Tip.

  • Violent crimes against women happen in the best and worst hotels around the world. Predators may play the part of a hotel employee, push their way through an open or unlocked door, or obtain a pass key to the room. As with home safety, never open your door unless you are certain the person on the other side is legitimate, and always carry a door wedge with you when you travel. A wedge is often stronger than the door it secures.

Safety in Cyberspace.

  • Although the Internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn't careful. When communicating on-line, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same.

Your Right to Fight.

  • Unfortunately, no matter how diligently we practice awareness and avoidance techniques, we may find ourselves in a physical confrontation. Whether or not you have self-defense training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, it is important to understand that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you and hasn't struck first. Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage--strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.

Escape is Always Your Best Option.

  • What if the unthinkable happens? You are suddenly confronted by a predator who demands that you go with him–be it in a car, or into an alley, or a building. It would seem prudent to obey, but you must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window--do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.



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