Self defense tips for women:
It doesn’t matter if you’re a feminist or not, a grandmother or high-school-aged woman, a homemaker or a business executive. You can be any age or race, size or shape. As a woman, you need to know basic self defense. Most of it is designed as a preventative measure; recognizing possible bad situations and avoiding them before they happen is the best way to stay safe no matter where you are or what you have to do every day. In some cases, however, that’s not possible: we aren’t in complete control of every element or variable in our lives, but we must be ready to deal with these surprises.
First, you should take self-defense classes of some sort from a licensed, qualified instructor. You might want to learn hand-to-hand combat, such as a martial arts or boxing. If that doesn’t sound like your ideal thing, you might learn more about pepper spray and other deterrents. Whatever you do, know how to take care of yourself long before something happens. This coupled with keen observation at all times, will make you the least likely victim. Remember: the bad people, whether they are men or women, prey on defenseless, scared people. Self-confidence in itself is a deterrent, so take whatever measures are necessary to give yourself that boost.
Tip: if you are going to carry a handgun, be very familiar with it. You should obtain a permit to carry it, if applicable, as well as attend as many handgun-training lessons as possible. Even after you have obtained the required licensing and training time, you should continue practicing at shooting ranges so that you will remain comfortable with the weapon. Remember: familiarity is the key to confidence in the weapon.
These “quick tips” are not instant solutions, but they will get you started on the road to personal safety. Practice them at all times, day and night, and continue working on that self-defense measure that we just discussed.
-Always let at least one other person know where you are going and an approximate return time. If something happens, it will not take long for that person to figure it out and send help.
-Before you leave home, think of the worst possible situations and have plans ready and waiting in your mind. You are going to a familiar nightclub: what happens if someone comes out of that dark alleyway to your left as you are walking back to your car? How can you avoid that alley altogether? In which direction will you run if you can’t avoid it? You should know these things and be ready for them, but do not dwell on this stuff during your time in the club. You’re there to have fun, so do it – the “serious things” will come when you are ready to leave and go home.
-Observe your surroundings. You should always have a fairly good idea of who and what is around, even if you are grocery shopping at lunchtime on a lazy Wednesday. Take mental notes of the people around you. While you’re at it, take in important things like secondary escape routes (in case an emergency, whether natural or thug-induced, arises), telephones (you cannot always rely on your cell phone), and security guards.
-Keep your cell phone on hand. This is a good idea even if your battery is dead or you are not getting any reception. Why? Because the bad guy will not necessarily know that you aren’t getting a signal or cannot make a call. In fact, you can pretend to be in the middle of a conversation while walking to your car late at night. If you are convincing, you will fool any onlookers.
Tip: if your cell phone is actually working, go ahead and place a real call. It’s easier than faking conversation, and you will have the added security of knowing that there is really someone else on the line.
-People are safer in groups than singles. If you see another woman walking to her car, why not join her? Be careful, as she might be nervous enough to hit you with a can of pepper spray (this tactic works best if it is with someone you know, like a co-worker or neighbor).
Tip: always take another person, if not several, with you at night. Clubbing, movies, concerts and even shopping are all more fun if there is someone else along anyway.
-Have everything out and ready to go before you open the door. This is when you arrive at your destination, whether it is a nightclub or your home. If you are ready to step out and walk right in, instead of fumbling around for a purse or whatnot, you will make yourself a less appealing target.
The same is true when you are walking back to the car after a night of fun. Have your keys out and ready to unlock the car. As an added bonus, if you grip the key between your fingers, so that its jagged edge protrudes, you can give a bad guy a very nasty punch or scrape.
-Alert authorities to suspicious people or activities. You should not be silent when there is something happening. If nothing else, alert the manager of the store, apartment complex, club, etc. of what you have seen. The idea is to get as many people on the defensive – looking around and paying attention – as possible.
These tips help keep you safe when you’re out of your home, but you should also be prepared inside the house. A few quick tips will help make your home, as well as your life and body, less likely to be victimized.
-Secure all of your windows and doors at night as well as while you are away. Fresh, spring air coming through the windows might seem great while you’re sleeping, but don’t succumb to the temptation – even if you sleep on the second story. Keep them closed at night.
-Invest in your choice of home security. This could be an alarm system, deterrents such as pepper spray, or a guard dog. Whatever you choose, make yourself familiar with it so that you will not panic if a situation occurs.
-If you hear an intruder in the house, lock yourself in another room and call the police immediately. Once you have made the call, you can take steps to defend yourself. The important thing is that trained, professional help is on its way before you try to take on an intruder by yourself.
These tips are designed to give you a very quick and brief overview. They are by no means a substitute for more involved training or education. Check with your community college or women’s groups in your area for self-defense courses of all types. Many are affordable, if not free, and will continue boosting your confidence. If nothing else, you will encounter other women with the same desire for self protection, which might lead to a whole new set of friendships that you might not have had otherwise.