It was a dark and stormy night… the wind was howling through the trees. An owl hooted. A dog barked. A car stuttered and then slowly came to a complete stop on the side of the lonely road. The woman inside swore out loud. As one does in such a situation.
Yes, this is how every fictional horror story begins, but the truth is, the real life equivalent, day or night, is just as anxiety inducing, especially if you’re a woman. It doesn’t even have to be raining.
We’re going to unpack what happened to the swearing woman on the side of the road a little further on, however, this feature is about more than midnight breakdowns, it is about women’s overall safety and security, it is women’s month after all, so we are going to take a little detour.
Consider this, every woman you know and every woman reading this has done some of the following at some point:
- Held their keys as a self-defense weapon.
- Been hypervigilant about their drink.
- Checked their backseat.
- Locked their car doors the minute they have gotten into their vehicle.
- Picked up their pace because someone was making them anxious.
- Hit a corner and run for their life because you were being followed.
- Pretended to be on the phone. (OK, fine, we’ve all done this last one, but probably for reasons that are quite different).
Women are programmed to consider their safety a little more than the average guy. That’s just a sad reality really. Add in the fact that we live in SA, which is a crime hotspot, and you understand why security checks and balances have become second nature. For instance, you don’t even realise that you’ve checked your rear view mirror 7 times, have left a gap between you and the car in front at a stop, entered hyper vigilant ninja mode when approaching your own driveway and have just double checked the back door is locked. Again.
The following serves as a safety and security guide for all the women out there. You know most of the tips already, so let’s just call this a bit of a reminder. For everyone else, you’ll get some additional good-to-know security measures, and a bit of perspective regarding the amount of extra vigilance that women automatically engage in. Here we go:
Be alert and hyper-aware of your surroundings.
Lots of crime is opportunistic. So be aware of what is going on around you. Activate your peripheral vision mode (and your ears) and scan areas like you’re Xena the Warrior Princess.
Don’t be distracted or talking on your phone (although pretend talking is acceptable if you are trying to throw someone off).
Be confident. Strong body language can be a powerful deterrent to would-be bad guys.
Be a woman with a plan.
Truth is, if you get accosted in some way, if you don’t have a plan of action, your adrenaline will take over and there is every chance that you will wind up practicing your ‘warrior pose’ on some unsuspecting bad guy. Not terribly helpful, unfortunately. So, plan your response to a situation.
For instance, if you are aware that someone is encroaching on your space and you don’t like it, get loud. Tell them to stay away. Sure, maybe he was just out for a stroll and thinks you’re a little crazy now, but that’s a small price to pay. Bad guys don’t like to be the centre of attention. Go figure.
If you are confronted by a weapon, we suggest you give them what they want. We can try track your stuff later. But let’s keep you alive and able to report that crime.
If they want to push you into a vehicle or take your vehicle while you’re still in it, that’s a hard pass. Avoid that situation at just about all costs.
Very importantly, you want to make sure you have the opportunity to run. So hit them hard… low, high, wherever (we won’t judge). And GO GO GO.
Listen to your gut.
There is a little voice inside us that only really rears up when we are about to do something stupid, something that makes us feel a bit guilty, or when things just don’t feel right. Listen to it. It knows what its talking about.
Be driven to stay safe.
So now we return to our swearing woman on the side of the road, who is absolutely fine by the way, because she read and saved this list:
- First things first. Make sure that your phone is charged, and your car is fueled.
- Before you even leave wherever you are, let someone know (family, friend, work human that you talk about Bridgerton with) where you are, where you are going and what time you think you will get there.
- You can drop them a pin of your live location if you are feeling particularly worried for any reason whatsoever.
- If you have the sneaking suspicion that you may be being followed, take a couple left turns at Albuquerque. If it persists, head to your nearest police station or private security patrol vehicle.
- If you are arriving at a place that isn’t well lit or occupied, feel free to give us an In Case of Anything shout, and we will meet you and escort you in, if you are feeling unsafe, and within our areas of service.
- Now, if you are the swearing lady on the side of the road. Put your lights on. Stay inside your vehicle with the doors locked, windows up and phone a friend. By this, we mean call a security firm or the police if you feel unsafe and give them all the relevant information needed for them to find your location easily. It’s worth telling them that you are feeling unsafe. Call the AA if you have their services, call your insurance and yes, phone a friend and drop them your pin.
- We’d prefer it if you didn’t accept help from strangers. Rather wait for a security vehicle on patrol, tow truck or the police to arrive (or that friend/family you phoned).
Fight like a girl. i.e. Smartly.
If someone tells you that you fight like a girl, it’s a compliment. It means that you fight smart, like going for the soft spots and then bolting.
That said, here are some extra (also smart) tips to assist:
- If you like to exercise out and about take a form of self-defence with you. For instance, there is a gel pepper spray on the market that has been designed specifically for runners (it comes with a handle and fits comfortably in your palm). But find the self-defence weapon that you are most comfortable with. There is always a fine balance with these things. Pepper spray gives you distance, whereas a taser means you have to be closer, although the results may be more incapacitating and you’re less likely to blind yourself.
- Set your Strava to Beacon. And let someone know when you are heading out and when you expect to be back. This way they can track your last known whereabouts. Live.
- Doing rideshare or e-hailing? Do the Uber ‘Share my Trip’ with a mate. Sending them your Uber location so that they can track you. If you use Bolt, make use of their female drivers service.
- Download our Panic App which uses a GPS tracker to send us your location when you hit it, so that we can come and find you.
- Call us, In Case of Anything.
- Ps. Get a dog. For security, sure. But they are also just so fluffy and cute and keep your feet warm.
At the end of the day, we know that as women you are clearly primed for defence and always have safety and security in mind, that said, you can never be too careful these days, so we would like to raise our hand to basically be your bodyguard too.
Call us, In Case of Anything, including signing up.