You've probably been emailed countless "safety tips for women" from friends or family members looking out for your best interests. You may already be aware of how to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation or how to react if you find yourself in one, but it never hurts to remind yourself of the steps to take in order to keep yourself safe.
Women are often seen as easy targets and attackers use many of the same tactics to lure them into their webs. Keeping the following tips in mind will help protect you and maybe even save your life.
How to avoid dangerous situations
Parking lots are a prime area for women being attacked. If you find yourself shopping late at night, park as close to a lamppost as possible, be aware of your surroundings, walk with purpose, look under, in between and inside your car, and immediately lock your doors once you are inside. Don't waste time checking your packages, playing with the radio or making phone calls in your car; leave as soon as you lock your doors. If you're too afraid to walk to your car by yourself, ask the store for an escort to walk you out.
Don't park next to large vans. If you happen to find one next to your car after leaving a store, especially one without any rear windows, enter your vehicle from the passenger side. It's very common for attackers to pull victims into their vans while they are trying to get into their cars.
Always lock your doors while driving. Police officers have reported that many attackers enter a woman's car with a drawn weapon while they are at a stoplight.
Also while driving, never pull over when a man motions that something is wrong with your car. Wait until you can safely stop at a well-lit gas station to check out any malfunctions. If something really is wrong with your vehicle, you probably have more than enough time to find a safe place to stop.
Stop being nurturing and sympathetic. It's in our nature as women, but this is how many serial killers and rapists trap their victims. It's a common ploy for predators to act like they need help in order to make women vulnerable, so even though you may feel guilty, be wary of men asking you for help to their car.
Always have your cell phone in your hand, so you're ready to call the police in case of emergency.
What to do if you are attacked
If you find yourself being followed while walking in a dark area (which you should avoid at all costs), yell "Fire!" instead of "Help!" It's believed more people will respond to the warnings of a fire, rather than get involved in what they may view as a personal dispute.
If you have a run in with an attacker who pulls a gun on you, do NOT get in a car with them. Odds are they don't want to shoot you or draw attention to themselves, so run screaming from the violator and they will more than likely run away as well. If they do shoot, it's reported that they only succeed in hitting their target four in one hundred times and even then, it's unlikely they will hit anything vital.
If a mugger approaches you, throw your wallet or purse away from you and run in the other direction. Never hand anything directly to them.
If you are ever grabbed, remember that the elbow is the strongest point on your body, so if you are close enough, use it. Also, the eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body, so if possible poke your assailant as hard as you can there.
If you are thrown in the trunk of a car, kick out the back taillights and stick your arm out of the hole and wave it around. The driver won't see you, but other people on the road will.
If someone jumps in the car with you, it is recommended that you deliberately drive into a solid object such as a tree or pole. Your airbag will more than likely protect you and you will succeed in drawing attention to your situation, while surprising and/or hurting your attacker.
It's an unfortunate fact of life that women are viewed as easy targets, but if you take the necessary precautions and know what to do in case you are attacked or abducted, you can prevent any irreparable harm from coming to you.