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basic safety tips for woman - hvcid
The best self-defense is to make yourself aware. Use these basic safety tips to help save your own life.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Typically known as “situational awareness”, make it a habit to know what’s going on around you. When you walk into a room, look to your left and right to see who is lingering at the door, find your exits, look to see who is there. When you walk out of a door, immediately look to your left and right to see if anyone is lingering, look behind you often to make sure someone’s not following you. You don’t have to be paranoid you just need to be aware.

Bad dudes are just waiting for that woman who hasn’t a clue as to what is going on around her because she’s going to be the easiest mark.

Get Off Your Phone  

Is that phone call or text to your friend about the Woolworths sale REALLY as important as your safety? That call/text can wait until you are in your car safely (with the doors locked). Not only are you able to be aware of your surroundings by any human threat, but you can pay attention to the traffic around you and not get run over. If you’ve got the kids in tow as well, you aren’t giving them your undivided attention in a potentially dangerous situation.

Keep your phone handy to call for help, but don’t be so tied to it that you can’t be aware of what’s going on around you the moments you need to be the most aware.

Don’t Leave Your Purse Unattended

Before you glaze over at this, hear me out. Not only are you going to lose your cash and your credit cards if someone grabs your purse, but your personal safety is at risk because they now have your home address. This extends the danger time to well past the moment he or she walked by your shopping cart or restaurant chair and nicked your bag when you weren’t paying attention to the next time you’re out meeting friends, and they break in while you’re gone.

Lock the Door Behind You

Make it an absolute rule of thumb that when you get into your car, lock the door immediately (if nothing else, just use the remote you’ve already got in your hand to lock up, too). When you come in from outside, lock the door immediately.  When you go into a bathroom stall – lock first THEN find a place to put your bag. Too often bad guys don’t get you when you’re going into the building or car but will wait until you think you’re safe and relax your guard, and then open that door and you’re stuck.

Don’t let the perceived ‘safety’ of your car or house keep you from actually being safe.

Speak Up

Do not be afraid to speak to someone to ask them to not come closer if approaching you in a parking lot. Do not be afraid to yell for help if they don’t stop. Do not be afraid to speak loudly to someone so that you can get the attention of others nearby. Do not be afraid to let your wishes be known that you do not want to be harmed. Might you be embarrassed if it turns out that you misunderstood the situation? What’s a few minutes embarrassment when you read a situation incorrectly and ask for help compared to a situation where you stood and froze, too scared to say something because you didn’t want to embarrass yourself and were harmed.

Scream, yell, command – use your voice!

Park Safely

When parking, choose spots that are well-lit, amongst other cars, and as close to the main entrances of a building as you can (not so you can be lazy so that you spend less time in the car park as possible). Lock your car quickly, but keep your keys handy in case you have to get back in. Be aware of someone loitering near your car (do not approach), and always check in and around your car before entering. When loading your book, do so as quickly as you can and always keep aware on your surroundings of someone approaching.

Keep your keys handy and do not fumble in your purse for them.

Answer the Door

Typically, we’ve been told, “If you’re home alone and someone knocks, don’t answer – they’ll go away.” Recent events, though, are showing that more and more, burglars are doing home invasions assuming that if no one answers, it’s safe to go in. Locally, we’ve been told by our police department to answer with a call for who it is, and let them know you’re on the phone or won’t be answering the door or other ways to let the person know you aren’t going to be opening the door. Never actually answer the door even for a service person you are expecting until you’ve been able to confirm that they are actually who they say they are.
Do not invite a predator in.
Trust Your Instincts
Trust your gut. If you feel something weird about a situation, get out of it. If you have a sense of dread about walking into a dark area, don’t – find some light. If a person is giving you cause to be concerned, excuse yourself from the conversation or cross the street to get away from them.  I’m not talking about paranoia, I’m talking about that instinct that we tend to push aside – the hair raising on the back of your neck, goosebumps on your arms…all telling you to flee!
Don’t Make Yourself a Target
Wearing flashy jewellery (you have something valuable to steal), wearing restrictive clothing (unable to run or defend yourself), carrying more than you can manage, not paying attention to what’s going on around you, leaving valuables in plain sight, leaving your garage open, flashing money (best not to show everything in your wallet when trying to pay) are all ways to make yourself a target.

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