1. The first, and the most important component in self-defense is awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker’s likely strategies.2. First and foremost, the key to safety is to continue to learn as much as possible about what dangers you could potentially face, as well as how predators operate.
By constantly educating yourself to what dangers you could possibly face, you become better prepared to recognize these dangers and plan your response.3. Always be aware of your surroundings
a. The worst thing you can do is have no idea who or what is around you. The more you pay attention, the less likely you are to be surprised.
b. Also, if something does happen and you’re a witness, you’ll be able to provide better information to law enforcement.
4. 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, and 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.
5. Be aware of your environment. Be very familiar with the layout of any places you visit frequently.
6. Staying Safe in Buildings:
a. Know all the exits in buildings where you spend a lot of time. It could protect you in the event of a robbery, hostage situation or other attack.
b. Do not let strangers in. Never let anyone into your home that you don’t know. Have two front doors: your regular wooden door, and an outer metal safety door that you can see through. Open the wooden door but do not open the metal door to strangers. There’s never any need to open the door to door-to-door salesmen or missionaries.
c. Fix a safety chain at the front door. When you open the door, keep the safety chain on, and open it only after you wish to allow entry of known or verified persons.
d. For couriers, take packets through the window grill or have a small opening in the metal door, or keeping the safety chain on.
e. For service people, don’t let them in unless you were aware of an appointment in advance; ask to show the service person’s ID before you let them in. For someone claiming to be in trouble or needing to use the phone, be aware that this is a common ploy used by criminals to gain entry. Rather than letting them in, call the police on their behalf.
7. Looks. Do not make the mistake of trusting a clean cut, honest looking stranger. Offenders often look like they could be your friendly grocer. They are every age between 15 and 90, and probably beyond. Only a small minority actually look scary. Do not presume old people who look frail and cannot walk well are safe, they can be strong enough to attack.
8. Trusting people to be alone with your children. This is a difficult one, because child molesters end up being the LAST person the parents would believe is the molester.
Most of the child molesting cases I see involve the stepfather, the uncle, the sister's boyfriend, the mother's boyfriend, the grandfather, the baby-sitter, maid, household help, driver, the neighbor, the family friend, the youth camp director, school staff and teachers, day care worker, etc.
Although rare, even women can be molesters. In every case, the perpetrator is a nice guy, trusting, and good with children.
When it comes to your children and grandchildren, be suspicious of everyone, no matter who they are. And pay attention to what your child says and how he/she reacts to the mention of different people in their lives.9. Get off your phone and attend to your safety. When you have got the kids along as well, give them your undivided attention.
10. Keep your phone handy to call for help, but be aware of what’s going on around you when you need to be the most aware.
11. Having a phone to call for help is a must in our day and age. Switch on the GPS to get you out of any area if you’re lost.
12. Tell someone where you are going and where you are.
13. Body language is important. Never walk with your head down or appear nervous.
14. Limit your distractions. If you’re walking through a deserted parking lot, is it really necessary to send a text right that moment? If you’re focused solely on your phone and checking your email, you’re not going to notice if something, or someone, looks out of place.
15. The criminal’s primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a “force presence,” many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided.
16. Use your “sixth sense”, “gut instinct”, whatever you call it, your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Learn to trust this power and use it to your full advantage. Avoid a person or a situation which does not “feel” safe, you are probably right.
17. 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, do not - 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!
18. Escape. Always your best option. Do not go anywhere else with the predator. Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window, do whatever you can to attract attention. If the criminal is after your purse or other material valuables, throw them one way while you run the other.
19. Your right to fight. Whether or not you have self-defense training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you and hasn’t struck first.
Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back.
Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage - strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.20. Set boundaries and enforce them. If someone comes too close for comfort, tell them and force them to move back and give you your space. Don’t worry about whether you’ll come across as short or impolite. If your safety is at stake, it is no time to be nice.
21. If someone tries to force you to a different location, do not go.
Research has shown that if someone intends to move you, they also intend for you to not make it out alive. Whatever you do, never get in a vehicle with someone regardless of what they tell you because it is not going to be good.
22. Always have a mentally rehearsed plan of action, such as what you would do, or where you would go in the event you were victimized in some way.
23. Walk with your head up while displaying a sense of confidence and purpose. When a tiger chases its prey, it never goes for the fastest and strongest. Instead, it picks the slowest and weakest for its meal. The same can be said about human predators. If two people are walking down the street, the less confident of the two will have a greater risk of being victimized.
24. Walk confidently, keeping aware of the people in front of you, behind you and to your sides.
25. Do not assume that because you live or work in a good area that you can relax your guard. Predators come from every economic, ethnic, and religious background. Serial killers come from the ranks of brothers, fathers, grandfathers, cousins, uncles, neighbors and co-workers.
26. Wear sensible shoes and clothing that will not restrict your movement. It is also a good idea to carry a personal alarm, whistle, key-chain baton, or pepper spray. However, you should seek training on the use of these items to maximize your ability to properly use them. Be aware that items like key-chain batons and pepper spray should never be carried on any form of public transportation or into any building or facility that bans these types of personal defense weapons.
27. Try not to restrict the ability to use both hands by carrying a purse, bags or many packages. When walking to and from your home, vehicle, or work place, try to keep only your keys in your hand. If you have bags or packages, push them in a cart, if possible.
28. When you do your banking, avoid a routine. If you carry large amounts of cash, have someone follow you or go with you.
29. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
30. If you feel that you are in danger, never feel awkward or embarrassed about enlisting the help of others.