Regardless of whether we like to think about it or not, the process of making the nation safer for women is a slow one. Judicial and police reforms will take their time. Till then, it is good to know of certain things you can do on your own and daily, as you commute to and fro work and leisure. An important aspect to keep in mind: Majority of the sexual assault/molestation/rape cases happen with known people, that is, the survivor usually knows the perpetrator. It could be a family member, a colleague, a lover or a friend. Therefore, breaking the silence and staying safe is required even when you know the person. Some tips for your safety are mentioned below.
Invest in a pepper spray
They can be bought online and can be handy in case you find yourself amidst people trying to make you uncomfortable/directly trying to touch or attack you. In fact, if you have a girl-gang, get one for all of them. However, be careful and don’t use it unless you are absolutely sure that the stranger is behaving funny. Read the instruction on the pack/bottle beforehand so that you don’t fumble when in a high pressure situation.
Know your routes
Always keep a working knowledge of the routes you travel by. Download apps that have trackers and take cabs which allow you to track the route and message friends. When travelling to a new place, find out the nearest hospital, police station, petrol pump, hotel and train/bus station.
Carry with you
Try to carry a light torch in case you need to take darkened alleyways. Also, if you use a prepaid number, always have enough balance so that you can make calls. Make sure to keep a portable charger handy so that you do not run out of charge when you need your phone to check bus/train timings or to call for help. Keep emergency numbers saved in your phone.
Build your strength
Although keeping fit is not a sure shot solution, you are much more likely to fight off a lone offender if you have muscle strength. Also practice sentences you can tell or questions you can ask to a suspected offender. Research suggests that when you ask them questions like what time is it, or other neutral questions, they feel they haven’t scared you and so are much more likely to keep off. Stay on the phone with someone and keep telling them your location if you feel stalked.
Lastly, there are some women’s safety apps which you can try. Some apps cater only to specific cities. Some known apps are Smartsheher, Scream Alarm, bsafe etc. You can look at the features and download the best ones. It may not feel right or just to do all this work when your lack of safety is not your doing. But while we try and attain a safer and responsible country, we should do what we can to stay safe, even though we may not like to.
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