The spur in the amount of rape cases and sexual crimes against women in our country has brought into light the need for women to take up safety measures themselves too .Studies have shown that most of these occur within the victims known circles at home or work .
10 ways to protect yourself from sexual assault or be a victim of rape :
1> Be alert of your surroundings at all times. Most assaults happen in isolated places like Parking lots, garages, lonely dark roads, less used shortcuts, etc. Even if it is daytime, late hours or at night, avoid risk areas such as dark places, dimly lit areas, lonely places, and being alone in a room with a stranger or someone you don’t know well. If you have a sense of being followed then scream talk loudly to yourself or someone imaginary, talk over the phone, go to a crowded public place or scream loudly. Make any kind of noise which will freeze the attacker as usually they are looking for a quick getaway after committing the offense. Yell, shout and draw attention to yourself. Attackers usually have an idea of how the attack will happen. Disrupt that idea. Fight like a psychotic cat, and yell loudly and strongly.
2> Carry anything which can be used to attack the assailant and defend yourself like an umbrella, large handbag, pepper spray, chilly powder and even a gun if you have a license. If the location has mud or sand then bend down and scoop some and splash in his eyes to temporarily blind him or poke his eyes with your fingers and escape. Invest in self defense classes if available in your city. Keep the emergency helplines on your phone in order to call immediately in case of need. Always keep your family and trusted friends informed of your whereabouts at all times.
3> Stay careful at parties and bars. Don’t let anyone hold your drink. Do not leave your drink anywhere. Avoid anything that somebody gives you. It could be “counterfeited.” Always hold, keep and get your own drinks. Never leave a drink unattended for even a moment. Keep your hand over the top of your drink because it’s easy to drop something into it. If accepting a bottle then examine the seal carefully for tampering. Be aware of public bathrooms in clubs and bars. Women have been attacked in the ladies room if it is deserted.
4> Practice being careful when going into your house or car because someone could easily push you in and lock the door behind you. Be aware of your surroundings; carry your keys ready in your hand and look around you before opening the door. If the attacker is already in the car then he will give you directions to a isolated lonely spot where he can commit the crime and force you at gunpoint or any weapon sitting behind you. I n this case stay calm and surprise the attacker. Do not obey the instructions but put on your seat belt and drive into some stationary object like a lamp post or signal or water hydrant. the safety belt and air bag will save you and it is better to be in an accident rather than being raped.
5> Do not accept lifts from people you do not know, these could be cars, bikes or motor bikes. If at your home alone then never allow strangers especially those claiming to be from maintenance or services like electrical department, water department, taxes without examining their original credentials and talking to their superiors on the phone. Do not even allow your watchman access at dark hours. Keep the porch or front of house adequately lighted in case you return home in dark hours.
6> Learn to trust your instincts the voice in your head which tells you something is wrong. If you feel uneasy or unsure in anyway, it is in your best interest to get away and get help. Use your instincts and be aware of your freeze instinct. Move quickly … fight, flight or freeze are our natural instincts, so be aware that all 3 exist. Most of victims when questioned said they had an instinct that something was wrong but they ignored it. If there is a hint of danger about the person or surroundings, do not ignore it.
7> Learn “SING”. This means Solar Plexus-Instep-Nose-Groin, the four attack points you should focus on if grabbed from behind. Elbow them in the solar plexus, stomp on the foot as hard as you can, and when they let go, turn around and jam the palm of your hand into their nose in an upward motion, then finish with a knee to the groin. This may disable your assailant long enough for you to get away. Don’t worry about hurting them, because they intend to do something much worse to you.
8> Rape can and does strike anyone at anytime. Age, social class, ethnic group and has no bearing on the person a rapist chooses to attack. Research data clearly proves that a way a person dresses and/or acts does not influence the rapist’s choice of victims. His/her decision to rape is based on how easily he/she perceives his/her target can be intimidated. Rapists are looking for available and vulnerable targets. So walk straight with confidence and hold your chin up, fake it if necessary. This may sound silly, but it can help boost confidence. Attackers are more likely to go for those who they think cannot defend themselves.
9> In case of taking an auto or taxi while getting in talk loudly on the phone or pretend that you are taking auto or taxi to so and so destination and an approximate time of arrival. Even state the name of the driver or badge number mentioned near the meter or say the number. In case of suspicions on the shortcut or different route taken by the driver then make a call to the police or issue an alert on your safety apps you pre decided.
10> Use the advantage of technology to download safety apps on your phone easily available nowadays and keep a list of family and friends you can call upon in case of emergency. They must know where you are and how to locate you in case anything goes wrong.
There is a lot of change to be brought about in the mindset of why society condones rapists but blames the victims as if they are responsible. There are so many instances where simply the bystanders to the crime just stood there imbecile so the onus is upon women to protect themselves. Do share your comments and your tips to safeguard.