Being aware of one's surroundings and aware of the possible dangers, is paramount when protecting yourself. Being prepared for a possible problem will help to alleviate panic which will be an even bigger enemy than a attacker. Panic prevents us from running or also prevents us from finding possible solutions to an emergency situation. By taking precautions, developing safety habits and being assertive, you will minimize the danger of physical attack.

  • Women who live alone should list only their last names and initials in phone directories.
  • Be sure you lock your doors during the day, even if you are home, and even if you leave for only a few minutes.
  • Never open the door automatically after a knock. Require the caller to identify himself SATISFACTORILY. Legitimate deliverymen, police officers and repairmen would not hesitate to present identification. Use chain bolting when checking ID.

NOTE: Women have been brought up to be polite and "lady-like" when interacting with males. Follow your instincts!! If you feel uneasy about whether the person is who they claim to be, even if they SEEM nice, be assertive and ask for their employers number and check to see if they in fact work there. Again, legitimate servicemen wouldn't react unkindly to your efforts.

  • Leave your lights on at night, even when away from home. Change the location of the lights being left on so a stranger won't figure out that it's a decoy. Leave a light on by the door at night and always have your key ready.
  • If a window or door has been forced or broken while you were away, DO NOT ENTER YOUR RESIDENCE OR ASK IF ANYONE IS THERE. Leave silently and use a neighbour's phone to call police and wait there until they arrive.
  • If a stranger asks to use your phone, do not permit him to enter. Offer to summon emergency assistance or make the call for him.

NOTE: Again, the "lady-like" issue may come up. You may feel embarrassed for feeling uneasy at letting this stranger inside your house especially if you find out that he has a wife and kids in a car waiting for him. You also may feel guilty for not helping a person in need. NEVER FEEL THIS WAY!!! THERE ARE MANY PERPETRATORS WHO USE THIS VULNERABILITY AGAINST WOMEN. You don't have to refuse to help; you don't need them to be inside the house however, to help them.

    • Keep your car in gear while stopped at traffic lights. If your safety is threatened in any way, hold your horn down and drive away as quickly as possible.
    • Check your rearview mirror. If you believe you are being followed by another car, do not drive into your driveway, or park in a deserted area. Pull over to the curb at a spot where there are people, and let the car pass you. If the car continues to follow, drive to the nearest place where you can get help. (gas station, police station)
    • If you should be followed into your driveway at night, stay in your car with the doors locked until you can identify the occupants or know the driver's intent. Sound the horn to get the attention of other neighbours or scare the driver off.
    • When parking at night, select a place that will be lighted when you return. Check for loiterers before leaving the car.
    • Never leave the keys in the ignition even if you park for a short time. Always take them with you and lock the door.
    • When approaching your parked car, look behind you and at your sides for any strange people loitering in the area. Leave immediately. As you approach the car, do a visual sweep of the car's tires to see if they are flat, or check to see if anyone is lurking underneath or by the tires. When opening the car door, make sure that no one is hiding in the back seat.
    • After getting off a bus, or leaving a subway station at night, look around to see if you are being followed. If someone suspicious is behind or ahead of you, cross the street and if necessary, criss-cross from one side to another. DON'T FEEL AFRAID TO RUN IF YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED!!! Be prepared to defend yourself and scream for help or scream FIRE to get attention. Run to a public place if possible.
    • If a car approaches you and you are threatened, scream and run in the opposite direction of the car.
    • Walk near the curb and avoid passing too close to shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of concealment. Don't take shortcuts through school yards, parking lots and alleyways.
    • When arriving home by taxi or car, request that the driver waits until you are inside.
    • If you find yourself in a lobby with a stranger, let him take the elevator and wait for it to return for you. If someone gets on an elevator that makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor. Stand near the control panel and if an attacker tries to attack you, hit the alarm button and hit other buttons so the elevator stops at a floor you can exit from.
    • Take a self-defence course or a Wendo course.
    • Try to get fellow students or colleagues to walk together across campus or to the parking lot after classes or at night. Never walk anywhere alone....especially if you are depressed, intoxicated or high.
    • When walking, stand up straight and look passers-by in the eyes. Show your assertiveness.

    NOTE: Findings show that perpetrators tend to victimize women they believe to be weak, vulnerable and will offer no resistance to the attack. Walking erect and looking people in the eye will send a message to possible attackers that you will fight if attacked.

    • Avoid empty cars in the subway. Move swiftly to exit when the car is almost deserted.

    This information courtest of Ontario's York university.
    The vast majority of crimes are committed by someone who is known to the victim, and this person is more likely to be a friend, lover, or relative than a casual acquaintance. Serial killers make a big splash in the media because they are so rare, and because they prey on strangers. Women who are murdered are most often killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Women who are sexually assaulted are most commonly assaulted by their lovers. Children who are sexually abused are most commonly abused by family members, with sibling incest being most commmon. The location a woman is most likely to be assaulted in is her own home.

    The myth of the stranger in dark clothing in the car with tinted windows preying on the unsuspecting is designed to keep women afraid of strangers rather than looking for more immediate dangers.

    Please note that I'm not trying to downplay the terrible things that people you don't know can do, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't be careful. I'm saying that the terrible things are more likely to come from someone you know and trust.

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