Growing up as a petite girl with no techniques on self-defense, my greatest nightmare has always been getting followed and kidnapped or raped. Up until I was 9 years old, I was taught to never approach men in cars, men with candy, or men with dogs. But as I grew up, the cautionary scenarios became more complicated.
When I was eleven, I was taught to not ride my bike or play outside on the street alone once the sunset was over. When I was thirteen, I was taught to not wear the short shorts and a tank top. When I was fifteen, I was taught to carry pepper spray to high school parties. And after I turned eighteen and left the house, I was taught to be aware of all of my surroundings, which entailed rejecting drinks at bars, rejecting brownies at house parties, never leaving a party with a guy I'd just met, meeting a guy for a date in a daylight and busy setting, always having people around me, and never being too trusting.
These precautions are unfortunately necessary in our society today, since the scenarios are gradually getting worse. For example, just recently there have been many accusations made by several women in my town. They claim to have been followed by unknown men while shopping at their local grocery stores. Others have been followed to their cars from their own college library, and meanwhile, others have been contacted via social media.
The reality is, women need to take extraordinary measures to stay safe, and here are a few ways to do so:
1. Purchase a stun gun.
A stun gun is an affordable taser. However, the difference is that a taser can be used in close and far distances, and a stun gun is only used in short distances. It is not illegal to carry a stun gun in the state of Florida in the case of self-defense. Although it may seem a bit uncomfortable and scary to carry around such a powerful object, in the case of an emergency, it will definitely benefit you, especially if you are out on late nights or somewhere alone.
2. Carry pepper spray around with you.
Pepper spray is the classic self-defense item and continues to work today. It is definitely useful and will guarantee you a head start if you need one. Carry it around with you everywhere and at all times. Nowadays, you can even find disguised pepper spray containers like pepper spray in lipstick and other everyday items.
3. Run errands during the day.
Do not go alone to the grocery store or mall late at night. Or, don't go alone at all, since these areas have become easy and common targets.
4. Be alert in parking lots and garages.
Parking lots and garages are also common targets since there are usually no people around late at night, therefore, be aware of your surroundings here.
5. Be cautious on social media.
Social media has become such an advantageous and disadvantageous utility to our society today. Although having many followers may be rewarding, be careful when adding too many people you don't know. You never know who is in control of the accounts, especially if strangers start messaging you.
It is extremely unfortunate that these precautions need to take place, and women need to be on constant alert. Until the day this is no longer an issue, take caution and be alert to your surroundings at all times. It is better to be safe than sorry.