I write romantic suspense, books where my heroines are always targeted by someone with malicious intent. Here at Attacking the Page, we’ve done a number of blogs on personal safety, but we haven’t posted some of this information in a while. There are detailed posts in our archives, but I’ve listed some quick tips below to start you thinking about what you can do to stay safe.
- Be a hard target – pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid talking on your cell, texting, and/or wearing headphones when you should be aware, i.e. running or walking across a parking lot.
- Park close to buildings, in well-lit areas. Pay special attention if the vehicle next to yours is occupied or if a van or other vehicle you can’t see into is parked next to yours.
- People principle – stay with a group for safety, or if you’re in trouble, seek people out. Isolation makes you more vulnerable. Don’t run or walk alone.
- Carry a cell phone and keep it charged.
- Protect your personal space – if someone makes you uncomfortable, let him know his behavior is unacceptable. He may be “feeling you out” to see if you’re an easy target.
- Take a self-defense class. They’ll teach you even more ways to stay safe. Plus, Bureau of Justice statistics show that 50% of attackers will break off the attack if the woman indicates she will fight back. If she goes with her attacker to a secondary location, 90% of the time, she isn’t coming back.
- If you’re a woman alone, you can’t always be a Good Samaritan. Don’t stop for someone who appears to be having car trouble. Instead use your cell phone to call the police and report their situation. Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy took advantage of women who wanted to help others. One of his best ploys was to feign injury and ask for nice young women for help.
- When out with girlfriends, make a pact to go together and stay together. Honor that pact. Do not let a friend leave the group. Date rape drugs are easy to get, tasteless, odorless, and becoming increasingly more common. Only drink beverages that you opened yourself or watched the bartender pour. Do not accept drinks from strangers and take a friend to the hospital if you suspect she has been drugged. Date rape drugs can be made at home from drain cleaner. Any guy who gives them to a woman doesn’t care if she is alive or dead when he rapes her.
- Whistles, personal alarms and pepper spray make good sense. Panic can make some people unable to scream.
- When booking a hotel, use initials or Mr. & Mrs. Do not give anyone your room number. Do not stay in a room without a peep hole and security bar. Don’t take anyone’s word that they are a hotel employee. Call the desk and check before opening the door.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it should get you thinking. Your brain is the most important weapon at your disposal. Above all, trust your instincts. If you feel like someone is a problem, he likely is. If a situation is making you uncomfortable, get out of it. This feeling isn’t your imagination. It’s your primitive survival instinct kicking in. I would much rather feel silly asking a security guard to escort me to my car than be attacked in the parking lot.