10 Basic Safety Tips for Women


STOP! Are you neglecting these 10 Basic Safety Tips for Women!? Get the lowdown on how to protect yourself better, everyday!The best self defense is to make yourself aware.


There are a million ways to defend yourself. There are a million people telling you how to do it. I’m not trying to be either of those. What I do want to do is help you become aware of some really basic self awareness/situational awareness things you can do to help you increase your safety when you’re out and about with or without the kids.  I know, as moms, we tend to get tunnel vision when we’re with the kids and are just trying to get through this next shopping trip without any tantrums and getting at least 30% of what we meant to go in for. However, our main priority is to make sure we and the children are safe – everything else is secondary.  These comments aren’t meant to judge, they are meant to make you aware of how our everyday habits can put us in danger.

Note: There was a comment on social media awhile back that this article was condescending to women because it put the burden of protection on them, instead of on the person causing the harm. So I assume he meant that it was okay for me to not pay attention to what I was doing when I walk out of a store and bury my head in my cellphone and just walk into traffic because the burden to keep me safe is on the driver, not me. Sorry – but I would never want to put that burden on another individual when I can keep myself safe by looking up and paying attention to what is around me.

And in a perfect world, no one would ever want to harm another individual. But it isn’t a perfect world, and you cannot forfeit your safety in hopes that the person approaching you in the dark alley you decided to walk down, who surprised you because you were too focused on your cell phone to pay attention to what was around you, will be a good person. YOU must take responsibility to be as safe for yourself and your chidlren as you can be. This doesn’t mean that you allow a bad person to hurt you – it means you do everything in your power to protect from it.

10 Basic Safety Tips for Women

1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Typically known as “situational awareness”, make it a habit to know what’s going on around you. When you walk into a room, look to your left and right to see who is lingering at the door, find your exits, look to see who is there. When you walk out of a door, immediately look to your left and right to see if anyone is lingering, look behind you often to make sure someone’s not following you. You don’t have to be paranoid..you just need to be aware.

Bad dudes are just waiting for that woman who hasn’t a clue as to what is going on around her because she’s going to be the easiest mark.

2. Get Off Your Phone  

Is that phone call or text to your best friend about the Walmart chick you saw wearing nude colored leggings REALLY as important as your safety? That call/text can wait until you are in your car safely (with the doors locked). Not only are you able to be aware of your surroundings by any human threat, but you can pay attention to the traffic around you and not get run over. If you’ve got the kids in tow as well, you aren’t giving them your undivided attention in a potentially dangerous situation.

Keep your phone handy to call for help, but don’t be so tied to it that you can’t be aware of what’s going on around you the moments you need to be the most aware.

Quick Tip #1 – It may seem a complete antithesis of #2, but having a phone to call for help is a must in our day and age. If you’re stuck on the side of the road with no one to help, you could be stuck for awhile without help, or at the mercy of whomever you decide to rely upon because you can’t get help. You can also have GPS to get you out of a neighborhood you ought not to be in if you’re lost.

Tell someone where you are going and where you are.

3. Don’t Leave Your Purse Unattended

Before you glaze over at this, hear me out. Not only are you going to lose your cash and your credit cards if someone grabs your purse, but your personal safety is at risk because they now have your home address. This extends the danger time to well past the moment he or she walked by your shopping cart or restaurant chair and nicked your bag when you weren’t paying attention to the next time you’re away at a soccer game, and they break in while you’re gone. Or…while you’re there. And if not them, someone they know looking for an easy mark.

Quick Tip #1: Get a carabiner from the sporting goods section – looks like this:

Use it to wrap your shoulder strap through a shopping cart a few time (because the safety strap is probably being used for your child), then use the clip to attach the looped end to the cart. It’s a quick snap in, and easy lever to remove when you’re ready to go. You can also do this in a restaurant as well. Just make sure your carabiner isn’t weak, but you don’t have to get an industrial size one. You can even get cute ones in shapes of hearts or houses or dog bones, etc. (but make sure they aren’t super light weight). You can store the carabiner on the strap, and it will only take you about 12 seconds to strap your bag to the cart or chair. 12 seconds. That’s a micro-fraction of the time that you stand looking at what flavor of yogurt to buy.

Quick Tip #2 – Consider not carrying  a purse (I know  – super radical, and odd coming from someone who believes in carrying a day bag), but in all situations, do you absolutely need to carry in a purse to the store? Is your wallet so huge that you can’t tuck it into your pocket ? Do you really need your lipstick and brush and makeup bag and all the other stuff for quick runs into Target? There may be times when leaving it in the trunk locked up is a better idea. Just consider it. I carry my wallet and my car keys on my body. I do not keep them in my day bag. That way, if ever I walk off and forget my bag, someone happens to cut the strap and steal it, my money, my identity and my means of escape are on me, not with them.  I hear your argument that your clothes don’t have pockets, etc. To me, safety is infinitely more important than fashion (and coincidentally, my husband agrees!)

Quick Tip #3 – Don’t leave your purse in plain site in  your car. Car jackings/burglaries are on the rise, and many times it’s just a hit and run – knock out the glass, reach in to grab a purse and run. Keep your purse out of plain site instead of leaving it on the car seat next to you.

4. Lock the Door Behind You

Make it an absolute rule of thumb that when you get into your car, lock the door immediately (if nothing else, just use the remote you’ve already got in your hand to lock up, too). When you come in from outside, lock the door immediately.  When you go into a bathroom stall – lock first THEN find a place to put your bag. Too often bad guys don’t get you when you’re going INTO the building or car, but will wait until you think you’re safe and relax your guard, and then open that door and you’re stuck.

Don’t let the perceived ‘safety’ of your car or house keep you from actually being safe.

5. Speak Up

Do not be afraid to speak to someone to ask them to not come closer if approaching you in a parking lot. Do not be afraid to yell for help if they don’t stop. Do not be afraid to speak loudly to someone so that you can get the attention of others nearby. Do not be afraid to let your wishes be known that you do not want to be harmed. Might you be embarrassed if it turns out that you misunderstood the situation? What’s a few minutes embarrassment when you read a situation incorrectly and ask for help compared to a situation where you stood and froze, too scared to say something because you didn’t want to embarrass yourself and were harmed.

Scream, yell, command – use your voice!

6. Park Safely

When parking, choose spots that are well-lit, amongst other cars, and as close to the main entrances of a building as you can (not so you can be lazy, so that you spend less time in the car park as possible). Lock your car quickly, but keep your keys handy in case you have to get back in. Be aware of someone loitering near your car (do not approach), and always check in and around your car before entering. When loading your trunk, do so as quickly as you can and always keep aware on your surroundings of someone approaching.

Keep your keys handy and do not fumble in your purse for them.

7. Answer the Door

Typically, we’ve been told, “If you’re home alone and someone knocks, don’t answer – they’ll go away.” Recent events, though, are showing that more and more, burglars are doing home invasions assuming that if no one answers, it’s safe to go in. Locally, we’ve been told by our police department to answer with a call for who it is, and let them know you’re on the phone or won’t be answering the door or other ways to let the person know you aren’t going to be opening the door. Never actually answer the door even for a service person you are expecting until you’ve been able to confirm that they are actually who they say they are.

Do not invite a predator in.

8. Trust Your Instincts

Trust your gut. If you feel something weird about a situation, get out of it. If you have a sense of dread about walking into a dark area, don’t – find some light. If a person is giving you cause to be concerned, excuse yourself from the conversation or cross the street to get away from them.  I’m not talking about paranoia, I’m talking about that instinct that we tend to push aside – the hair raising on the back of your neck, goosebumps on your arms…all telling you to flee!

9. Learn how to Use Your Gun

Do not go out and buy a pretty little gun, put it in a purse and never touch it again. When the time comes to use it, will you be able to draw it safely? Know how to get it off safety? Know how to aim and shoot? Know how to take care of a jam? Know how to reload? Get out to a range and learn to shoot your weapon. Learn how to handle it safely. Practice drawing and dry firing (if your gun works well, or get snap caps to use). Practice with your husband acting as an attacker so that you can practice how you’ll react (just don’t get mad at him if he’s good at it!) Practice safely, but practice. Knowing how to use your gun effectively and safely will allow you to have another layer of defense between you and an attacker. Too many times, people who don’t know how to handle their weapons end up with said weapon turned against them. Don’t be that woman.

If you’re going to have a gun, learn how to use it.

10. Don’t Make Yourself a Target

Wearing flashy jewelry (you have something valuable to steal), wearing restrictive clothing (unable to run or defend yourself), carrying more than you can manage, not paying attention to what’s going on around you,  leaving valuables in plain site, leaving your garage open, flashing money (best not to show everything in your wallet when trying to pay) are all ways to make yourself a target.

Hold yourself confidently, act wisely, don’t be a target.

Being proactive to keep yourself safe is your best self-defense move.

Last thoughts: Consider Taking a class

Whether it’s a personal self defense class or something a little more involved like a martial art or Krav Maga, take a class from your local Y or attend a seminar by the local police force. They can show you a few moves to help you defend yourself, if necessary. When I took mine, our instructor emphasized – go for the soft spots. Use your fingers in their eyes, your hands/elbows/knees/feet in their crotch, your fingers in their throat – bite their noses and ears. Do anything you can to get a window of opportunity to run away.

That is your goal – get away and get help.

Here is an article from Life Hacker with tons of self-defense strategies and videos for you to check out – it’s worth the time.

STOP! Are you neglecting these 10 Basic Safety Tips for Women!? Get the lowdown on how to protect yourself better, everyday!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I agree with everything you wrote–especially about listening to your gut instinct. I remember a few years ago when I used to live in an apartment building in the city I came home one night and parked in my assigned parking spot (which is relatively far from the front entrance). Just before I was about to turn off my car and get out, I had the distinct impression not to park because it was dangerous to do so at that moment. So I listened to my gut, pulled out of my own parking spot and parked in the visitor’s parking spot right by the front door. To this day I do not know what danger was lurking in the darkness that night, but I do know that there was iminent danger if I did not listen to my instincts.

  2. says

    Excellent pointers about staying vigilant to stay safe. Staying off your cell phone till you are secure in your vehicle is a great point. Many assaults can be prevented by staying alert and aware of your surroundings.

  3. Abigail says

    This is a great article. The only thing I don’t fully agree on is the phone. I used to work late and would always call my mom to talk with until I was safely in my car. It made me feel safer because she knew where I was at and what I was doing. If anything were to happen she would have known. I kept myself aware of my surroundings however. Sometimes our conversations would involve what was going on around me. Sometimes being on the phone can be a good choice, just don’t be so engrossed in something that happened yesterday that you forget to tell who you’re talking to what is going on around you. It may be overheard by a potential attacker who decides it isn’t worth it if someone may already have a description of them.

  4. says

    Thanks for the article. I like the point of speaking up if you feel someone is coming too close also about answering the door. I tend to not answer but I think I will change that habit. (o:

  5. says

    I really enjoyed your tips, but I would like to respectfully disagree on just one. I used to work in a really rough area of town, where the local cops would tell us to park our cars somewhere well-lit (as you said), but also, if we could manage it, away from other cars. If you can see all the way around your car, and under it, you can be safely assured that no predators are lurking.

    This also deters thieves who are determined to steal catalytic converters for the scrap metal. All it takes is five minutes, and they can slide under your car and saw it off. Again, parking where you can see all the way around your car would help deter these people.

    I really enjoyed your article and wish more women would take these pointers to heart. I’d never thought about the carabiner for a purse. That’s brilliant!

    Also, I highly recommend Gavin de Becker’s ‘The Gift of Fear’ to any and all people, though it was primarily written with women in mind. It’s not paranoia; it’s prep. 🙂

  6. says

    Awesome tips! And I was about to recommend Gavin de Becker’s book when I glanced up and saw that Jennifer had already recommended it. Great book. Another fantastic book for preppers with kids is “Protecting The Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)”, also by de Becker.

  7. Janey says

    Good stuff that’s applicable to both genders. While women shouldn’t have to worry about their safety, sadly we all have to. I would add an 11 – keep an eye on each other too. If you see a creep somewhere, let someone know.

  8. Marie says

    So glad you mentioned practicing at the range! Too many people buy a gun, then never practice with it. There’s a common saying among gun owners: In a crisis, you will not rise to the occasion–you will fall to the level of your training. I go weekly to the range to practice (going tonight, in fact!). I still have much to learn, but I am constantly working to learn more. It’s crucial that you know how to safely use your gun or there’s a risk that it will be used on you!

    As for purses, I’d suggest a crossbody. I use a small crossbody wallet-type. I can keep it close to me. Yes, someone could still steal it, but they’d have to be quite a bit bolder to do so than just grabbing it out of my cart.

  9. says

    I would add to number 7 about answering the door- I’ve gotten in the habit recently of putting my kid’s down and not bringing them to the door with me when I am answering it. If there was someone there with ill intent, at least your kids aren’t included in any form of immediate threat.

    Great tips, love the blog!

  10. Lilka says

    Awful, horribly sexist article. Women shouldn’t have to be the only ones aware of their surroundings – yes there’s a high percentage of violence towards women – but this article should simply be titled “10 Basic Safety Tips for EVERYONE.” This entire article feeds into the idea that ‘men will be men’ and women are the one’s who have to watch every step they make – because every single misfortune that comes upon us is our fault, for “not being prepared well enough.” Sickening.

    • says

      Sure, it would be horribly sexist if I somehow made it sound like it’s a woman’s fault for any abuse that comes her way – as if she were asking for it. However, since I feel women are responsible for their own safety, they NEED to be diligent for their own safety because of the high percentage of violence towards women, and because the majority of my audience is women, I felt an article directed at them was much more poignant than something generic. Don’t assume that this lets men off from keeping themselves safe or that they can go ahead and commit acts of violence because we’re weak. Take it as a great force of empowerment for women to be the masters of their own fate and to do those things that can help them. Feel free to take these tips and apply them to your own life as you see fit.

  11. Thor Valhalla says

    Thou shall not entertain strangers outside your home unless they did introduce themselves, for safety purposes. Yes right. I do commend too. Be wise.

  12. H-A-B says

    A very good article Jane and 10 great tips!

    I have been teaching Krav Maga to women and girls for over 5 years and we teach a very effective technique which I feel should should be in every woman and girls arsenal. We are a women only event, run by women, for women, and this is the extremely effective technique what we teach to women of all ages.

    The technique is the “groin grab” self defense technique which is to be used against a male attacker, which is now taught in many womens self defense classes, and there is actually a little trick to it…

    To execute this technique, you’re going to take your hand and quickly grasp between the attackers thighs underhand. Its going to feel like you’re “cradling” the testicles. Quickly grab them and dig your fingertips into the fragile skin BEHIND the scrotum. Then, once you have a good grip, you turn your hand into a vice, with your fingers digging inwards, around the back and over the top of the testicles. If you do it right, you should feel the testes INSIDE your hand which is holding the scrotum. You want, whenever possible, to hook your fingers over and around at least one testicle. One of them is enough.

    Then, with your hands in a claw and your fingertips latched around the testes, you turn your hand sharply, as though you were turning a doorknob. Simultaneously, squeeze hard and pull the testicles away from his body as fast and as hard as you can. DO NOT LET GO OF THEM. This is really important. What happens then, is that your assailant usually screams out in pain and then tries to grab the wrist of your hand holding him in a futile attempt to try to get you to release him. Don’t. If he does initially attempt to fight back tuck your head in and hold on tightly to the testicles within your hand. He then quickly loses one of the natural advantages he usually has over us (his strength) within a matter of seconds. Vomiting, curling over, collapsing and convulsing is common. Shock and unconsciousness can set in within 8 seconds. If he initially starts to fight back then you tuck your head in and keep squeezing his testicles until he faints. This only takes a matter of seconds. When he collapses, which he will, you get away to safety as quickly as possible and call for help.

    It’s never too late to perform this technique at any stage of an attack, and that even includes the option of reaching down if he’s on top of you, but it is easiest to do when the testicles are exposed and closest to you where you can grab hold of them. I’ve actually met several women in my life who have fought off their attackers in this way and one did it when her attacker was on top of her and raping her at the point he lost control. Don’t ever hold back. Some women scream while they are doing this, and some women think of a loved one being harmed to help overcome any bad feelings of hurting someone else even if they are being hurt themselves. Do whatever you have to do if you feel it helps.

    If done properly, and done with enough force, this technique can even lead to the testicles rupturing. It’s actually easier to do than most women believe, and just about all of us have the capability to injure an attackers testicles in this way – whether we are young girls still of school age, or whether we are great grandmothers. We, as women have no part of our bodies as vulnerable as a mans testicles. After all, if you think about it testicles are just small objects of extreme vulnerability to pain squishiness wrapped in a delicate layer of skin which offers them no protection at all from this kind of counterattack by a woman. Most importantly, this fact holds true no matter what size your attacker is, nor how strong he is. And no matter how angry he is, and how much he’s threatened what he’s going to do to you, he’s going to drop. Don’t let anyone (usually men who are very uncomfortable with thoughts of women beating them in combat) try to convince you otherwise.

    I once worked with a group of Somali women who informed me that grandmothers, mothers, and daughters between generations shared this powerful method of fighting of men. They even have a name for it in Somalia and they call the move “Qworegoys”. They were surprised that women in the West didn’t seem to share this information as much as they expected, and even more surprised that most women didn’t even seem aware of this technique.

    I know that this advice would have been a difficult read for many Women, but our lives are worth far more than a rapists testicles and we should be prepared to do whatever it takes to get away to safety. Please help to share this advice with as many other women and girls in any way you can. It could one day be a life saver.

    • Selene says

      What a fabulously empowering lesson!! Wish I’d heard it/known how to use it years ago. I don’t think that simple facts should be “difficult” for anyone to read. A testicle is a testicle the same way a vagina is a vagina. It’s just biology and plain fact! Great advice and thanks!

  13. Billee says

    Great article!!! Just a few comments from my point of view. Attaching your purse to the cart is a good idea. Just remember that if you take your eyes off your cart to peruse which item to buy, someone can walk off with the whole cart. You turn around, the cart is gone. So keep an eye on the cart. I have learned to keep one hand on my cart as I peruse the groceries. 🙂 Also, make sure your purse is closed. Otherwise, it’s easy to grab a wallet out of the purse while walking by.

    I absolutely LOVE that you included a section on firearms! Many people avoid that subject.

    BTW, I love your quote “Bad dudes are just waiting for that women who hasn’t a clue as to what is going on around her because she’s going to be the easiest mark.” I will be making that into an awareness computer graphic for our FB page. I will give you credit for the quote. I am also going to share this article on our FB page as well as link from our website. (We are a self defense business). I’m always looking for articles to share and this one is perfect.

  14. Megan says

    I’m a first degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and this is a LOT of what they tell us in women’s self-defense classes! I totally agree with everything! Awesome article and the info is TO TRUE. Thanks for posting it!

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