The world in which we live is fraught with danger. Just opening your daily newspaper confirms that crimes such as rape, attack, robbery and murder are amongst the dangers that have become a reality in today’s world, for everyone – but in particular, women.
Most of us assume that these situations only happen to other people, which leaves many in a very vulnerable position. The fact of the matter is, that these things can happen to anyone at any time. And whilst matters are not always within our control, It is up to us as individuals to do what ever we can to ensure our own personal safety.
Here are some points for you to consider to help increase your awareness in the matter of personal safety;
Listen to your 6th sense
We all possess a 6th sense, or instinct that often raises the alarm way before danger is present. The problem is that few of us pay attention to this niggling feeling. Many rape victims say that prior to an attack, they felt uneasy in the situation they were in. This gut feeling is actually our mind picking up on minuscule things that our brain didn’t consciously register. The reason why people tend not to act, is fear that they may be wrong and might potentially make a fool of themselves. However getting it wrong and feeling a little daft is certainly a better option than being subject to a potential life changing attack. So when this uneasy feeling takes over, do your utmost to get away from the situation or person you are with.
Body Language and eye contact
Most attackers are looking for easy prey. The person who looks uneasy, lost or vulnerable makes for easy pickings. So put your shoulders back, walk tall and stride with purpose. Look around and be aware of who is walking behind you and in front. If you feel that someone is walking too close behind you, stop and allow them to pass. Don’t rifle through your purse or look at your phone as an excuse for stopping, look directly at the person as they pass to let them know that you are aware of their presence.
If someone approaches you and you feel that they are a little too close for comfort, then say so in a firm voice. Even use your outstretched arm to indicate that they are invading your personal space and need to move back. This may turn out to be someone just asking directions in which case they may think you a little neurotic. However, it could be someone’s intention to intimidate you in order to grab either you or your bag.
Taking the situation in hand in a strong and confident manner often eliminates potential danger.
Look up from your phone
The smart phone is a wonderful invention, especially so for potential attackers looking for those distracted by the devise. Grabbing the bag or even the phone from someone fully engrossed in Face Book is an easy feat. Dragging someone off the pavement into a doorway as they study a text is not too difficult either. Keep your phone in your bag and look up. Alternatively, if you feel threatened in an area, call someone and talk loudly about where you are and how close by they are. Have the number of a friend on your phones ‘favourites’ button so that you don’t waste time making the actual call.
And whilst we are on the subject of smart phones, always be aware of broadcasting to the world your movements on social media. Telling your online friends about the route that you take for your run on Monday’s Wednesday’s and Fridays, takes all of the hard work out of stalking for a potential attacker.
Similarly, proclaiming your social movements also opens up the opportunity for the wrong person to seek you out.
Make sure that if you do put personal information on social media that you do it after the event. And ensure your profile settings are private so that only your friends are privy to your life.
In the car
When you park your car in a car park on a night out, make sure to have a look around. At 8pm on a summers evening when it’s light, full of cars and people milling about, it can feel perfectly safe. But what will the same car park look like at midnight? Dark and deserted more than likely. So think ahead and always park in a secure, car park. When approaching your car, don’t press your keys whilst you are a distance from the car. This indicates which vehicle is yours giving a potential attacker the opportunity to get there first! And once you are in your car, lock it immediately.
In summary; Always be aware of your surroundings. Walk with confidence, and don’t walk alone, and remember that your car is only your safe haven you are in it and it is locked.