Could you defend yourself if you were attacked? Isn’t it better to avoid being attacked entirely…?
The following short checklist can’t replace regular training in self-defense or martial arts, but until you make that commitment to learn to protect yourself maybe the tips below can help.
- Do not get distracted while out, particularly when you are on your own. This means, among other things, that when you decide to go for a walk, particularly at night:
- Do NOT listen to an ipod or other music device.
- Do NOT talk on your cell phone (unless it is part of your strategy – for example when someone is lurking around and you say loudly into your phone “You almost here, George? Oh. OK. See you in a minute then…”)
- Even worse, do NOT TEXT or play games on your phone. This takes so much of your attention that you would almost DEFINITELY not notice the guy(s) approaching you.
- Do not go out alone at night unless you have to.
- Wear shoes that you can run in, particularly if you are out alone at night. (But if you are in a situation where you get attacked while wearing high-heels, be prepared to stomp on the attacker’s foot with your heel and/or take those shoes off quickly to run away faster).
- Always be aware of your surroundings and keep thinking about exit strategies and contingency plans.
- Do not look down on the ground. If you have a feeling that someone may be thinking of doing something bad to you, try to make eye contact. Probably more important than your expression (you could try a “don’t mess with me” face, but you probably don’t want to escalate things unnecessarily…), if he thinks you could identify him, he will probably think twice about attacking you.
- One of the most powerful weapons anyone has is his/her voice. Think about what how you could use your words to avoid a dangerous situation or divert attention and if things get out of hand, be ready to SCREAM.
- NEVER go out alone while under the effects of drugs or alcohol. Always use the “buddy system.”
- If someone asks you for directions or the time, they may be testing you, to see how compliant you are. Not everyone is up to no good but please be cautious.
- Don’t assume that “because I can’t see anyone else, nobody else can see me.” If it’s dark out and you have lights on inside, don’t assume that a sheer curtain is keeping people outside from seeing what you’re doing. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they can’t see you!
- Be careful what you post on the internet. Do NOT post personal information in any type of public forum that you are not OK with EVERYONE seeing. Always imagine that your grandmother or that creep on the other side of town is reading what you are writing. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t be embarrassed about and, perhaps much worse, that might turn on the wrong people… And this goes double for photos.
- Never EVER get into a vehicle with someone you do not know or let them into yours.
- Share this information with others you care about.
- Make the commitment to finally join a self-defense or martial arts class today. 😉
People have asked about that list of items to be concerned with, often referred to as “Through the Eyes of a Rapist,” which starts off “The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.” It turns out this list is mostly fiction and was created in 2000. It includes some good information but is not based on fact. Learn more here.