Awareness and Risk Reduction

You can’t necessarily prevent an assault, but you can lower your risk by being aware and using preventative strategies.  If someone chooses to attack you they have made a decision that you cannot control. It’s never your fault if you are attacked. Don’t blame yourself for any assault. Don’t Live in Fear, Be Aware!

Who is that? What are they doing? The most important tool you have is being aware of your surroundings! Pay attention when you are out in public. Be aware don’t live in fear. Your neck is there to turn your head different directions so use it. Swivel your head around and look down alleys, in covered doorways, up and down the dark street, and around a store when you enter.  Pay attention to what others are doing. This way you will be ahead of the game if they choose to attack you.

Is someone following you? Make some noise. Move to the side and let them pass you. Don’t be embarrassed to yell for help.  If it is dark carry a small flashlight with you and shine it in their direction. If they make a move toward you shine it in their eyes! Cross the street, go to the house of a neighbor if you are too far from your own home. Ask for a ride home.

Is someone threatening you? Tell them to STOP! Yell for help. Back away. Keep an eye on them until you are a safe distance to turn around and walk or RUN. Go into a well lit store, knock on the door of a neighbor you KNOW and explain your situation.

Are you Shopping?  Push a cart because it has two uses. First you can use it to keep distance from someone who is harassing you, second you can use it as a weapon to push into an attacker. Try to carry your bags in one hand so you have a free hand to strike. You can also carry your keys in our hand, hold in your fist with the sharp ends sticking out and use as needed. If you are going through a parking garage ask a security guard to walk you to your car. It’s part of their job description.

Everyday Weapons:

  • Carry a small flashlight with a bright light and shine it in an attackers eyes.
  • Spray perfume or hairspray in their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use a brush to rake across their face or use the handle to strike.
  • Throw your jacket over their eyes to give yourself time to run while they are “blinded”.
  • Knocked to the ground? Throw dirt or gravel in their eyes.
  • Have a hard cover book, use it to hit them or block a punch.
  • Holding a chot cup of chai? Throw it in their face.

Prevention starts with society taking action and saying that violence against women and girls is wrong, that all violence is wrong. We cannot prevent an assault because we cannot use mind control against other people. An attacker makes a  decision to attack.

What we can do is stand up for other women when victim blame is thrown their way. We must never blame another woman or say that she was asking for “it”.  From mugging to rape, it is NEVER the victims fault. Assault is no joke, so it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to stop making excuses when someone jokes about rape or domestic violence. It’s up to you to stop slut-shaming. Prevention may not be in our hands, but we can still be part of the solution.

 

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