We think Beyonce said it best: “all the single ladies, put your hands up.” Now you want to form a fist, or use your elbow, and aim for the soft spots – that’s nose, eyes, throat, and groin. Don’t be shy. Other options are screaming, kicking and, our personal favourite, (an absolute time-honoured classic, and honestly the thing that gets the best results) RUNNING. Heels off, let’s go. Ps. Heels actually make a decent impromptu weapon (this last idea brought to you by: all horror movie writers rooms, ever).
Of course, the above suggestions are meant for ‘the unsingle ladies’ as well, and also guys (we see you bud, and we’ve got your back, especially since criminals are ‘equal opportunity’ and all that). This article centers women and their safety though for a number of reasons, including a) escalating femicide rates world-wide, b) the crazy GBV stats here in SA, c) because we think you’re friggin awesome and we want to keep you safe, and d) because this is the so called month of love, and there is always extra emphasis on going out and letting one’s guard down, which as you can imagine, we are NOT big fans of. Call us overprotective, we don’t mind. It’s sort of our brand.
We think you should use some protection. You know what we mean….
Here are 8 ways (plus a bonus way – which, spoiler alert, is of course us) in which you can protect yourselves a little better:
- Eh to the firearms.
When people think self-defense they think guns, but we are going to hit you with a couple facts here that you should probably consider before you decide to don the ‘Predator’ warpaint and signal in the chopper with miliary firepower. Firstly, according to some SA stats (circa 2015 admittedly, but still quite relevant), loss and theft of firearms account for more illegal guns in the country than any other means of attainment.
Secondly, you are 4 times more likely to have your gun used against you, than use it yourself in self-defense. Read that again. It’s pretty sobering and probably makes a strong case for leaving said weapons to the professionals, like your private security company *ahem* and SAPS.
Learn the 3 D’s. De-Escalate, Distance, Defense.
- De-Escalate. If you can, give them what they want. Do it now. No amount of money, or data from your watch (sorry latest run, goodbye), or pictures on your phone (you should have that backed up anyway), is worth it. So, hand it over and hot foot it out of there.
- Now, when we say ‘distance,’ we mean that literally. Maintain as much space as possible between yourself and your would-be attacker, if possible, ensure there are objects between you. This is also where things like spatial awareness and being cognizant of your surrounds is vital. We know it sucks, but really, you can’t let your guard down, ever. Luckily enough, as South Africans (and we know certainly as women) self-preservation through these means is practically a built-in feature, while staying alert and constantly re-evaluating what is going on around us as we go, comes standard. However, don’t forget, having an escape route plotted out doesn’t hurt either.
- Finally, Defense. Here we can consider things like dis-engagement moves, which covers stance, and certain techniques to break free from grabs and holds. To do this best we encourage you to take a course, and then practice the moves over and over again, but what we really want you to do, is run.
- Weapons training. So, someone told you a horror story one time and the next thing you know You are the proud owner of a fancy pink pepper spray (go you, also, very stylish). Same deal with the taser, the tactical knife, the pepper gel, the stun gun, the everything. But let’s be honest, do you know how to use any of them? They like to say it’s easy, just point and shoot etc., but nothing can prepare you for a high-risk, adrenaline-fueled situation, and without practice and training you will be fumbling for your weapon of choice and struggling to make it work. You may even be relieved of it and have it used against you, which is just adding injury to insult, honestly. So, if you are considering a weapon, weigh up the pros and cons of which you think will serve you best, keep it in a reachable but safe place and practice how to use it.
- Trust your gut. We don’t want you to be running about accusing everyone of being dodgy, but chances are, If someone or something is creeping you out, that’s because you know, like KNOW, on a deep intrinsic level that they shouldn’t be there, in your space. Trust that. The worst thing that can happen if you do, is someone gets offended. The worst thing that can happen if you don’t, well… it doesn’t even bear thinking about.
- There are a lot of things you shouldn’t have to think to do, but you need to do them all anyway. Generally, our programming covers it under the pretext of ‘Common Sense.’ And that’s all the more reason to engage in these things. Lock your car doors, stay alert at traffic lights, park in well-lit areas, carry your keys like a weapon, don’t wear headphones while out for your walk if you’re alone, don’t carry cellphones in pockets or obvious places. The list goes on. You know this stuff.
- Be confident. An opportunistic criminal is going to go for an easy target. So, head up, pace up, let’s go. Walk as if you know where you’re going even if you should have turned left at Albuquerque. Get your nose out of your phone and stay focused, move with confidence, and wear your ‘I’m on a mission don’t F with me’ face. Boom. Dynamite.
- Call us, In Case Of Anything. As your private security firm, we should be the phone call you make, no matter the crisis (that’s certainly our goal). So, if you feel that the drive home is too dark and the house too quiet, ask us for a car-to-door escort. If you feel chills, but not in a good way, we’ll come and investigate. If you are alarmed, we’re already on our way.
Ps. We also have a handy GPS panic so that we can come and find you wherever you are.
Acknowledging that women are targets (notice, we did not say soft targets, because we all know you’re badass – we’re the softies ;)) and arming you all with information is imperative, because knowledge is power, and we want everyone that reads this (especially women) to be as powerful as possible.
We would also like to encourage you to share this with anyone that you feel could benefit from a little reminder on how to stay safe, in any situation.
Remember though, you’ve got this, and we’ve got you.