Despite the fact that we live in a world that is continually changing and improving, violence against women still occurs. Statistics have found that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape during her lifetime, yet sexual assault and other violent crimes often go unreported out of fear, shame or embarrassment.
While no one can predict the future, there are several steps that women can take to help reduce their chances of assault in various situations. Anyone can become a victim at any time, but here are some critical suggestions that all women should heed:
Image courtesy of Ed Yourdon
Stay Safe in Your Home
- Know your neighbors so that you have a safe place to go in the event of an emergency.
- Keep your home well lit after dark and ensure that all windows and doors are locked, especially if you live alone.
- Never let a stranger inside, even if he or she claims to be having an emergency. If you want to help out, offer to make a phone call while the stranger waits outside. Lock the door when you close it.
- Ask for photo identification from anyone who you must allow inside, such as service representatives like cable employees or plumbers as well as police officers or government officials.
- Don’t enter your home if, when you arrive, you find an open door or window. Leave and call the police from a neighbor’s house.
- Have locks that can only be opened from the inside installed on your doors.
Image courtesy of Darrell Hamilton
Stay Safe While Walking or Exercising Outdoors
- Keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings, especially the people who you pass.
- Appear confident. Looking confused or jittery can make you an easy target.
- Alter your workout routine regularly. A potential attacker can easily figure out where you go at a certain time if you always walk or run the same route after work.
- Don’t look down to fiddle with your phone or iPod
- Exercise during daylight hours or on well-lit streets
- Scream or yell for help if someone tries to harm you
- Take self-defense courses to give you skills to fight back, if necessary.
Image courtesy of Stepan Mazurov
Stay Safe While Out on the Town
- If you know that you’ll be consuming alcohol, go out with a group of people who you know and trust.
- Wear shoes and clothing that allow you to move easily. Clothing that is too tight and heels that are too high can make it difficult to run away from an attacker.
- Never accept an open drink from a stranger.
- Always keep tabs on your drink. If you set it down to use the restroom or walk away for any other reason, order another. Date rape drugs and other harmful substances can be slipped into a glass or bottle in seconds.
- Never drink and drive.
- Never agree to meet a blind date or someone you barely know in a bar or restaurant to which you have never been.
- Choose a bright, well-known location and tell a friend or family member where you are and when you should be leaving. Ask that person to call you during the date to check in.
Image courtesy of UltraKickGirl
Stay Safe in Your Car
- Keep your gas tank at least halfway full at all times. If you ever get lost or stuck in traffic, you could run out of gas in a dangerous place.
- Take your car for regular oil changes and tune-ups to lessen the possibility of breaking down or stalling. If you do break down or get a flat tire, call for help and stay inside the vehicle until someone you know arrives to help. If you must call AAA or a towing service, ask for identification from the person who arrives.
- Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at all times while you are in the car.
- Never drive home if you’re being followed. If you realize that someone is trailing you, head to a local fire department or police station.
Above all, always trust your own instincts. If someone or something is making you feel uncomfortable, excuse yourself and leave. If you are ever attacked or harmed in any way, shape or form, notify the proper authorities as soon as possible.