Six Safety Tips for Women

By CTD Suzanne published on in Safety, Self Defense

I have good news! Crime rates are dropping across the country. Women are less likely to be victims of crime and the numbers of reported rapes are decreasing. However, women report feeling higher levels of fear of crime than men do, even though young men are more likely to be victims of crime than women are.

Women who perceive themselves as more vulnerable are the most fearful. Much of this fear is the result of how the media depicts crime against women. News reports, viral but false Facebook stories, and prime time crime drama shows have created a culture of victimization in women, making us feel more scared than ever. In fact, in my inbox today I received a news story with the headline, “Serial Rapist on the Loose…” However, what will become of us women if we chose to sit at home because we are fearful to go out?

Liz Reedy from Australia’s Safe Women Project says, “Staying home to avoid risky situations disempowers women, it denies them equality and does nothing to reduce their vulnerability to violence… Fear of crime affects the quality of women’s lives and what they can achieve.” I agree with Ms. Reedy. I have never been one to sit at home just because something might happen while I’m out.

Picture shows a woman holding her hand bag close to her body, talking on the cell phone with a sketchy looking man behind her.

As an armed woman, situational awareness is your first line of defense.

We women know not to go looking for trouble. We do not keep our doors unlocked, we know not to open the door to a stranger or jog in a public park alone at night. From the time we were children we learned “stranger danger” and have carried that into  adulthood and rightly so. The United States Department of Justice reports that 73 percent of women fall victim of a violent crime in their lifetime; 99 percent will experience personal theft. However, I do not think this means we should treat every person we encounter on a daily basis as a potential threat. There is a difference between caution and paranoia.

A little over 10 years ago, I chose to arm myself and became proactive in taking care of my own safety—not because I am afraid or feel threatened, but because I am not in denial. Owning and carrying a gun for self-defense has given me independence, empowerment, confidence, strength, and control over my life. What it hasn’t given me is a false sense of security. Bad things do happen and there is nothing saying I am immune.

A huge part of carrying a weapon is avoiding any situation in which you would be forced to use it. As an armed woman, situational awareness is your first line of defense. These six tips are some of the ways in which I go a step above basic situational awareness to make sure I do not become a victim.

1. Get your keys out before walking to your car.

If you are anything like me, your purse is a bottomless pit. Fumbling for keys makes you distracted, flustered and certainly vulnerable. With your hands and eyes deep in your purse, you are not paying attention to who is around. Further, a key can double as a last resort self-defense weapon.

2. Check your ‘six’ before getting out of the car.

I always look around to see who or what is behind me when I park my car, even in my driveway. I check my six before turning the car off, unlocking the door and getting out. That way, I can quickly leave if something looks sketchy.

3. Carry a purse with a shoulder strap.

When shopping for purses, I check to see if the purse has an optional or removable shoulder strap. That way I can carry the purse around my chest, messenger-style so both of my arms and hands are completely free. If you’re a purse girl and worried about finding a bag that will convert to messenger-style carry, my current daily carry purse is by Coach. I’ve also seen designers Michael Kors and Kate Spade bags with the same removable long shoulder strap.

4. Take note of cars pulling out after you.

Since it is known where I work and my photo and name is on the Internet, I always notice when a car, that is not another employee’s car,  pulls out directly behind me when I leave work. I take note of the make, model and color. I stay aware of any car following me until it turns off, goes ahead or I have lost sight of it. I do this after shopping at the mall or grocery store and after a night out on the town with the girls. If you believe someone is following you, do not go home. Call the police or drive to the nearest police station.

5. Watch shadows.

While I am walking anywhere outside, I pay attention to the shadows of the people behind me. You will be able to tell if they are speeding up. In a crowded commuter area, this is not as alarming as walking to your car by yourself in a densely populated area, walking the dog or jogging in the park. Do not be embarrassed to turn around and look the person walking behind you straight in the eye.

6. Always walk with a purpose.

Many criminals attack their prey because they perceive them to be vulnerable. Confidence can scare off a would-be attacker. Keep your head up and walk with a sense of intention and determination. You should always know what your destination is and exactly how to get there.SLRuleI opened this article with good news—crime appears to be dropping and then countered it with a statement with a statistic from the U.S. Department of Justice stating that 99 percent of women will experience personal theft in their lifetime. I have not been lucky enough to be a part of the one percent who will not be the victim of a crime. I have had my locker broken into, my car broken into (several times) and my cell phone stolen—all at different times in my life. Was my life threatened during any of those times? Not at all. I wasn’t even around when the theft occurred.

My point is not to fear monger. I am sharing my own personal safety tips in hopes of being more aware of your surroundings and being cautious in your actions will help you feel less fearful of crime. Knowledge, awareness and confidence gives you power. Don’t let the media or some violent jackass take that away from you.

What precautions do you take? Share your safety tips with us in the comment section.

Suzanne Wiley started shooting at a young age when her older brother bought a Marlin 60 and taught her to shoot. She took to shooting and developed a love for it when she realized she was a natural with a .22 LR rifle at summer camp. Suzanne has been an outdoor adventurer since she can remember-being from the Ozarks, there were bountiful caves, national parks, lakes, and camping spots to explore. From a young age, she has camped, fished, rode horses, went ATV exploring, rappelling, and even dabbled in beginner spelunking.
Suzanne joined the content team with over eight years experience at Cheaperthandirt.com. Starting out as a product description writer, Suzanne has extensive knowledge of the Cheaper Than Dirt! product base and is a good resource for suggestions on which products you need. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Though she prefers plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, Suzanne also loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (2)

  • Larry

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    use constant situational awareness!! check out the area you are going to prior to driving there!! keep your tank full..do not stop and fill up in a unknown area. if someone bumps you from behind do not get out to look at it…drive to somewhere with a lot of people or a police station etc… you can replace a tail light later a favorite trick is to deliberately bump the rear of a car with a single women in it. do not drive with your windows down. use your mind and common sense. any place or person you do not know is automatically SUSPECT.

    Reply

  • Dave

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    This is an excellent article in what has become, over the years, one of our most insightful, relevant, and progressive pro-gun organizations. CTD has ‘grown up’ from a place where, over ten years ago, buying cheap MREs, an exhaustive inventory of obsolete foreign military gear, and cheesy bumper stickers was the predominant fare. Although I did enjoy the slogans like, “Guns cause crime like flies cause garbage”, I must say that the modern CTD is a much more polished and competitive market friendly entity.
    To this referenced compilation as well as the additional reader’s comment I have only two things to add. One of which relates directly to the issue of situational awareness. This concerns the solo female who becomes so engrossed in putting away something in the car that she is totally ignorant of her surroundings for way too long. It is usually attending to a child in a car seat; normally bending into the back seat area. When I see this it simply looks like a crime opportunity just waiting for the car thief, purse snatcher, sexual attacker or whatever to strike.
    The other item concerns what I hope is an intentional defensive posture by a lone female. It simply involves having a cell phone open and up to the ear as if in conversation with someone. This looks like an excellent deterrent to confrontation. Even if the female (or male in a threat scenario) isn’t even actively on the phone; facilitating a summons for assistance, the phone may be one button speed dialed for instant connection to 911 support.
    As I said initially, the featured article is excellent. The contextual message about female empowerment is both well presented and appropriately focused. I do believe, however, that men can benefit greatly from that advice as well. I trust that my comments were not redundant. I want to positively contribute to this work.
    Whereas I had formerly been a casual fair weather patron of CTD, recently I am experiencing a greater appreciation for the maturity and sophistication of this organization’s retail offerings, catalog presentation, incredibly detailed web site (what?; 2000 gun sights ???), informational forums, and customer service manifestation by means of real-time expert assistance. Yep, I am very ‘ HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY’ …

    Reply

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