women travel tips

Serious Safety Tips for Women



Serious Safety Tips for Women
Base Camp I'm not a paranoid traveler, but I do travel by myself often, and I take a lot of precautions. To travel without fear, we need to be savvy. I learned these tips from a woman who recently took a self-defense class. The instructor who taught her class interviewed a group of rapists in prison and learned what they look for when scoping out a woman. Here are some interesting facts:

  • The #1 thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

  • They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

  • The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m.

  • The number one place women are abducted from/attacked at is grocery store parking lots. Number two is office parking lots/garages and number three is public restrooms. These men are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second, secluded location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

  • Only 2% of the rapists interviewed said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

    Therefore, if you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming. These men said they will not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects in their hands that can be used from a distance. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

    Several defense mechanisms

  • If someone is following you on the street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell and if you feel they are suspicious, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: "I can't believe it is so cold out here, we're in for a bad winter." Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a lineup, so you lose appeal as a target.

  • If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell "Stop" or "Stay back!" Most of the rapists said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target. If you carry pepper spray (the instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling "I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY" and holding it out will be a deterrent.

  • If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If they grab your wrist, pull your wrist back so your hand is in waving position (palm facing forward) and twist it toward yourself and pull your arm away. It is hard to hold onto wrist bones that are moving in that way. They stumble toward you and you stumble back, so you can use that momentum to backhand them with your knuckles in the forehead, nose or teeth. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh HARD. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it hurts.

  • After the initial hit, always go for the groin. It is extremely painful if you slap a guy's testicles (do not be afraid, your life may be at stake!). You might think that you'll make the potential rapist really mad and make him want to hurt you more, but the rapists who were interviewed reported that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he'll take off.

  • If he puts his hands up to grab you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. I saw the instructor do this to another man, without using much pressure, and he ended up on his knees and both knuckles cracked audibly. It works!

    Of course the advice we always hear still applies. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.



    All rights reserved. © Marybeth Bond

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