A few years ago, I was at the police commissioner’s office for an interview where I had to enter a lift with seven men. I was facing the door while they were all behind me. It was around noon, and I had no reason to be afraid, yet I was. I felt shivers down my back the whole time. Another time I felt that way was when I came across a viral post about “how to be safe in parking lots,” and while it talked about the precautions we can take as women, it inevitably made me aware of the million things that could go wrong. Since then, I’ve been afraid of such public spaces. And I believe that while we work towards building a safe world for ourselves, it’s our responsibility to be safe and smart.
So, here are a few ways to stay safe while in public. So, gear up to feel more aware and strong because this might be everything you need!
- Be aware of your surroundings.
This one might be common, but it is still a non-negotiable way to be safe. Staying vigilant about your surroundings is the best way to identify something fishy and take appropriate measures. So, instead of talking on the phone while walking in dangerous areas, put the phone down and take a look around. And, if you’re used to listening to music or podcasts while travelling, walking, or running alone, keep one ear open to hear what’s happening around you. Don’t get lost in the zone; it’s unsafe!
2. Run before you fight.
Yes, it’s important to learn self-defence. But, it’s even more important to know when to fight. I’ve attended self-defence classes and the first thing they tell you is “RUN” because, realistically, escaping is safer than attempting to fight. So, if your gut says something is wrong or if you encounter someone who’s trying to harm you, try to escape. Only when you are unable to leave should you attempt to fight your way out of the situation.
3. Always share your location!
Sometimes, I find myself thinking “I’ll reach it in 5 minutes. No point in sharing my location,” and immediately realise that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s almost stupid to rely on last-minute actions when such high-stakes are involved. So, always share your location!
4. Use what you’ve got!
While your fingers work extremely well in squishing someone’s eye, you can always use the items in your bag. Car keys, shawls, pens, bottles, or just any heavy and sharp object can work really well in your favour. After all, only you know what’s in your bag!
Pro tip: Keys work, but pepper spray works even better. Always carry one.
5. Try to stay out of dangerous situations.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve told my mom, “Why should I not go out alone? It’s not my fault,” but over time, I realised that until we make this world the safest place to live, the smart thing to do is stay out of dangerous situations.
What do you do to feel and stay safe in public? Share this and tell us, because the more the better!