Whether you’re at home or traveling to remote places, safety is a concern that lurks at the back of every woman’s mind. Protecting yourself and your loved ones can take many forms, from planning and forethought to physical training for self defense to carrying pepper spray or stun guns which may be used in dangerous situations. The best way to stay safe is to be prepared for any threats.
For women self defense begins with situational awareness, of being aware of potential threats in the physical environment and taking measures to avoid them. It’s not always possible to sidestep danger, however, and you should be prepared to defend yourself if attacked. Self defense classes can teach you the fighting moves to keep yourself safe from any assailants. Stun guns and pepper spray can be used to disable attackers so you can get away or call for help.
The world is a dangerous place, and just ignoring the risks won’t make them go away. You never know when you might need to defend yourself against threats to your life or physical safety. Your family, pets and property may be in danger. Young women leaving home for the first time to travel, go to college or a new job are especially vulnerable.
Whether you’re taking the kids to school, stopping at the grocery store or going for an evening run in your own neighborhood, you can become a target. Even if you’re staying at home, the dangers can show up on your doorstep. Burglaries, break-ins, stalkers and kidnappers don’t just belong in movies, books and news headlines. They exist in the real world and can decide to target you and your loved ones.
Beyond your daily routine, when you travel, or go camping or hiking, you are also facing unknown dangers. Travel overseas is an enriching experience but can be dangerous. A woman traveling alone in a foreign country can easily become a target for crimes like kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. In all cases, you can reduce the risks by being prepared.
For women, self protection can have many layers, beginning with situational awareness, through training in self-defense classes, to using non-lethal ways of defending themselves from attack, such as stun guns or pepper spray. These strategies are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can use them to build an invisible structure of safety that will surround you wherever you go.
The best way of handling dangerous situations is to avoid them. Situational awareness refers to being aware of your surroundings at all times and being able to identify potential threats, as well as ways to escape them. This tactic can be used anywhere: when walking down an unfamiliar street, on a train or bus, in a shopping mall or theater. While there are many warning signs that you can use to identify potentially dangerous situations or persons, the best rule is to trust your gut and to just walk away from any threats, whether they are visible or not.#2. Self Defense Classes
Many gyms, community centers, schools, colleges and police precincts offer self defense classes for women. These can give you a confidence in your ability to protect yourself, which will be reflected in the way you handle yourself. This in itself acts as a deterrent to any potential attackers. The classes, which also sometimes include self defense for children, teach basic fighting moves and how to escape a hold.
These lessons can be used in many different ways, though ideally it’s best to avoid any situation which involves physical proximity to an attacker.
#3. Stun Guns
Stun guns are used by law enforcement to deal with dangerous criminals. They are a useful tool for self defense for women, since they will disable a would-be assailant, giving the intended victim time to escape and seek help. Stun guns designed for personal use are very small and some are concealed to look like lipstick. It’s important to keep in mind that stun guns for personal safety are not legal in all states.
#4. Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is another way of disabling an attacker before they can get close enough to hurt you. Pepper spray uses an oil containing capsaicin, a chemical that makes the eyes water. This is the same chemical found the chili peppers we use to flavor food, but at much higher concentrations. Pepper spray is used by law enforcement to control violent individuals, but there are versions available for use by civilians as well. Like other sprays such as mace, pepper spray for women’s self defense is available in a small size that can be easily carried in a purse or attached to a key chain.
It’s a dangerous world and it’s easy for women to become targets. However, there are many steps you can take to save yourself from becoming a victim or a crime statistic. Using several different methods of self defense can help create layers of safety that will help you protect yourself and your loved ones.