Since my adolescence, serious assaults against males and females of all ages have proliferated alarmingly. Some people, women especially, are now afraid to go out alone, even in broad daylight. City centres can be a nightmare, particularly at night. Nowhere is safe. So what do we do? How can we protect ourselves? Is becoming a karate black-belt the only answer? Would that even help?
Of course, none of us can guarantee our safety no matter where we go, but you’re not entirely helpless. Here are a few 'weapons' which may help to protect you from attack.
Whenever you go out for the evening – to a party, club or even a cinema – make sure you get home safely by planning transport in advance – either by arranging a lift with a trusted friend or family member, or by travelling with a group. Teenagers please note - most parents will gladly pick you up to keep you out of danger!
Predators are rarely looking for a fight. What they ARE looking for is a perfect victim, someone who looks vulnerable, uncertain and lacking self-worth. Stride purposefully, with shoulders squared and head held high. Act as though you know where you’re going (even if you don’t) and adopt a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude.
If he gives you the creeps, he’s probably a creep! Don’t be persuaded to stick around or be manoeuvred into a solitary place. Just leave. You don’t need excuses. You don't need to be polite - predators will take advantage of a woman's 'niceness'. Put plenty of distance between you and him and make sure other people are around to help.
Should anyone make to assault you, Scream. At the top of your voice! It really is one of your best defences. A piercing, glass shattering scream may alert others and will often deter an attacker.
Being determined to fight back surprises and disturbs the would-be assailant. As mentioned previously, most predators want an easy victim. Learn basic self-defence and be alert to potential threats.
If possible, and as soon as you see your chance, Run. Take off your shoes if necessary and run to safety – the nearest house or any place where there are people.
Sorry but the way you dress DOES matter. No one has the right to assault you however you dress. BUT if you can see up it, down it or through it, you could inadvertently be sending the wong signals. Okay, that skimpy outfit may be just the thing for the party/club/restaurant - just be sure to cover up when walking home!
Wherever you go, stay awake, stay sober and don't rely on people you hardly know to get you home safely. Even trusted friends may slope off without you if they hook up with someone at a pub, club or party....which could also be a danger for them!
Whether you fear an attack or have recently suffered one, tell the police. By reporting an incident and providing as much information as you can, you may help to prevent others being assaulted in the future.