The worst experience of my life was being attacked and robbed by an assailant on my way home from grocery shopping. Though it’s not something I like to think about, it got me to realize the importance of being aware in all situations and learning the best ways to defend myself. I was grabbed from the back, and a hand covered my mouth. I couldn’t understand what was happening at first or what I should do, so instead of fighting or defending myself, I gave in.
It is unfortunate that women are considered weak and estimated to be ten times more vulnerable than men. This is in part true because women tend to get emotional in situations rather than thinking and acting rationally under stress. Predators take advantage of these statistics, often assuming that we scare easily if attacked or harassed. And without a full sense of awareness, we can make careless errors in a dangerous situation, and end up making things worse.
Because of these statistics, and my own experience, I believe it is very important for women to practice daily situation awareness and, if possible, learn defense techniques.
This doesn’t mean that we need to be overly paranoid, but rather just always stay alert. It’s about being aware of our surroundings at all times, and not allow ourselves to be blinded by emotions of anger, fear, paranoia or sadness in a situation where you need your brain at its best. You must also know when to act (fight or flight) and when to do nothing. Staying alert and aware can help women, especially mothers, avoid walking into danger or at least minimize the damage.
It’s quite easy for all of us to get distracted. Technology has made things even worse with people more concerned about their phones or other electronic devices than their own safety. It is never a good idea to walk completely oblivious to one’s surroundings. In places like dark alleys, parking lots or others without crowds one should always be attentive and prepared to react when things seem suspicious.
- Be observant about things, people, license plates, and even the slightest details
- Stay away from dark or unsafe parking lots
- Don’t shop at places that do not have security cameras installed
- Keep your keys and phone on you or in your handbag. Wear your purse; do not leave it in a shopping cart
- Always carry a defense tool with you (handgun, pocket knife, pepper spray, Taser, etc.)
- Have a flashlight in your bag as well
- Keep your hands as free as possible when you’re leaving a store (carry purchases in a push cart)
- Trust your gut when you have a feeling that a person is being overly friendly or could be a threat
- If approached by someone who seems dangerous, get in your car as fast as you can and drive away
- Try not to sit in your unlocked car for too long. And when you do, stay aware of your surroundings
- If you can, keep a spare key and extra working phone hidden in your car
Zyana Morris is an adventurist. She loves to write about different adventurist sites and survival skills.