General Safety For Women – By Debbie Love
All sexual assault victims have one thing in common, they never thought it would happen to them and took no precautions or gave any thought to protecting themselves.
We take precautions in many aspects of our life, like fastening our seatbelts when we get into a car even though we don’t expect to have an accident. Same with a spare tire, we always have one just in case. Considering one in three women are sexually assaulted, learning to protect ourselves is a precaution we can’t afford not to take.
Below are tips for your home and personal life, parking lots, and rideshares.
Precautions for home:
To avoid being seen as an easy target for a predator, here are some things you can do to make you and your home safer.
- Install an alarm system with motion sensors inside and outside your home. The motion detector will notify you if someone is in or around your home when they shouldn’t be.
- Having a dog is a great deterrent, even a small yappy one. Predators want privacy and will avoid anything that causes a ruckus. If you don’t have a dog, a large dog bowl on the porch or a “Beware of Dog” sign will serve the same purpose.
- If you live alone, putting an old dusty pair of men’s work boots on the porch will give the appearance that you’re not alone. (Check Goodwill or Salvation Army)
- Put a toolbox in your car that is visible to anyone peering in the window.
- Change up your routine from time to time to avoid being predictable. If you always come and go at the same time, jog the same route, etc., you should switch it up once in a while. If your partner leaves at the same time each morning, he should circle back every so often.
- Keep your car well maintained with plenty of gas. (I know this from personal experience)
- Always have your cell phone with you and charged at all times. It could be your lifeline.
- Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with anyone you don’t know extraordinarily well. If meeting someone for the first time or you don’t know him well, meet at a public place, a restaurant or bar and never get in a car or bring someone home that you just met. This applies to real estate agents.
- Have a plan. Let someone know where you’re going, who you’ll be with and what time you should be home.
- If something, anything gives you a bad feeling that something isn’t right, don’t shrug it off–trust that feeling and do not second guess it. Your intuition is talking to you.
All women are a little freaked out when walking to our cars in a parking lot, especially at night. Here are a few things you can do:
- Park in a lighted area close to the store and avoid parking next to high profile vehicles.
- Walk with your head up and with confidence. Don’t be looking at your phone.
- Look at who and what is around you and anyone who may be near your car.
- Carry any packages in your nondominant hand, leaving your dominant hand free.
- Before getting into the car, check the back seat and floor.
- Once in your car, start the engine and leave. You look terrific so you don’t need to check and anything having to do with your phone can wait.
- If you find yourself trapped with no escape, crawl underneath a car.
While rideshares are typically safe, women must stay vigilant. Here are some safety tips:
- First, if you get a bad feeling when the car arrives like something isn’t right, cancel that ride and request a new one. That’s your intuition talking to you.
- Be sure the driver photo and license plate match the info given to you.
- The safest seat in the car is directly behind the driver–it’s difficult for him to reach you.
- Keep your personal items with you in case you have to make a quick exit. (Avoid the trunk)
- Pay attention as you go or use your GPS if you don’t know the way. If the driver goes off course, you will know. Uber now has a button on its app that immediately sends an alert that will get you help.
- Do not give out personal information. The driver does not need to know your age, marital status or where you live or work. If going home, rather than give your full address, give just the street name or a nearby intersection instead.
Rapists Do Not Hunt On The Streets; They Hunt Where They Are Trusted.
It’s easy to think of a sexual predator as a stranger who appears out of nowhere; however, the reality is more than 80% of sex crimes are committed by someone the victim knows and more than half of all assaults take place in someone’s home.
Imagine you’re home after a long day with groceries to schlep inside when a neighbor approaches offering to help. While you don’t know him well, you say yes and consider it a godsend he appeared when he did. It’s easy to let your guard down in this situation because you’d never suspect a neighbor would harm you. According to statistics, you’d be better off asking a stranger for help.
Sexual Assault is the only crime for which society tends to blame the victim.
So why not report it?
Sexual assault is extremely uncomfortable to talk about, and that’s the problem. Most women stopped talking about it a long time ago. What’s the point? It’s not just men who think perhaps she brought it on herself, many women tend to agree as does law enforcement. Women are so used to being embarrassed, humiliated or blamed for being assaulted, we are hesitant to say anything. Better to pretend it didn’t happen than to have to convince someone that it did. For women, it’s just the way it is. The culture must change!
More Information About Debbie Love and Heads Up Self-Defense for Women: HeadsUpSelfDefense.com
Hear Debbie Love interviewed on The LIFE CHANGES Show, at: http://lifechangesnetwork.com/heads-up-self-defense-for-life-with-guest-debbie-love-and-musical-guest-alex-nester-on-the-life-changes-show-573/