Have you ever felt scared or intimidated when you’re out walking alone? That worried feeling that someone with ill intentions might approach you? Or when you’re driving on the road and you feel as though someone is following you? Have you ever wondered what you should do if you are approached by an attacker? I have a cousin who went to Korea for her studies, they were a group of four girls walking back home from buying food in the late afternoon. They felt as though they were being followed, from the train to walking to their apartment. Even when they took some odd turns like heading to a different building, the person still followed, until they managed to escape. Alhamdulillah, some people are lucky to be safe but what happens to our other sisters out there?

The sad truth is that we are living in an ever increasingly society in which the fear of crime is omnipresent. Our safety has become an issue of extreme importance for everyone, especially women. Women, often considered defenceless and an easy target, might need to step up our game and prove everybody wrong. We’ve come up with a few tactics that might help us if we ever encounter such a dangerous situation.

  1. Practice awareness. The first thing that might pop into your mind is ‘self-defense’, but true self-defense begins long before any physical contact. The main factor of self-defense is awareness: be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker’s likely strategies. One way to try to avert danger is to be more aware, so that we take away the opportunity for a potential attacker to get an upper hand on us. Criminals like to choose targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them – the oblivious. Limit your distractions. Don’t walk around with your phone in your hand.  Walking around with your headphones on can also make you a target as you can’t really hear or know what’s going on outside.
  2. Learn self-defense. Self-defense classes will teach you how to defend yourself in various situations. It can help you feel less anxious in public. Learn the basics of how to quickly disable and avert an attacker so you can escape.
  3. When in doubt, you should definitely S.I.N.G. Believe it or not, I got this from the movie Miss Congeniality! Although there is a humorous take on it, Sandra Bullock in this 2000 Blockbuster hit, teaches women how to defend themselves. She made the moves look so much easier than they are, but the S.I.N.G. acronym is an excellent defense strategy: solar plexus, instep, nose and groin.  Once you follow all the steps, you should be able to run far away from your opponent as he writhes in pain on the concrete
  4. Lock all car doors each time you’re inside. You never know who will be running towards you. One might pretend they’re asking for directions, or if you had spare change, or to tell you something is wrong with your car. Whether you’re parked outside a convenience store waiting for your mother buy some necessities, or picking up someone to grab lunch, always keep it locked!
  5. Safeguard against home invasion. When you are at home, you should always keep the door locked. Don’t let strangers come inside your home, unless you hired someone to paint your wall or fix something at home.  To prevent a home invasion, is simply to never ever open your door unless you are certain who is on the other side of that door, or can verify that they have a valid reason for being there. You should take note that some might dress up as a repairman or a uniformed personnel, that’s a trick criminals might use. In the event that an intruder breaks in while you are home, you should be quick to remember that you should find a ‘safe room’ with a fire extinguisher or a bat, just in case. You will also need your phone to call the police and family member.
  6. Use the internet wisely. We all know that the Internet is our go-to place for basically everything. It’s educational, informative and entertaining, but it can also be full of danger if we’re not careful. It is recommended using a nickname and keep your personal and confidential information such as your home address, phone number and credit card numbers. Make sure your family members do the same. Watch your use of social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Remember that the more information you give out, the more someone else will know your schedule and whereabouts.