Many women across packed cities, small towns and sprawling suburbs adopt daily behaviours to “be careful”, “practice caution”, “watch their back” and “stay safe” from potential harm.
These small taken-for-granted behavioural changes lead to situations where their mobility is dictated by concerns for their safety and well-being.
For many, the actions listed below have become habits and are often formed by negative experiences. They are not a guarantee of safety but followed as the first line of defence.
Few would say these are the things a woman should do to prevent an assault. Many more will say they are the things she should have done to avoid it.
Here are just 25 things women do to stay safe(r):
1. Walk with our keys in hand in case we need to use them as a weapon
2. If followed by someone on foot, we stop and pretend to make a call or otherwise occupy ourselves to allow them to pass
3. Walk past our destination, particularly if it’s our home, if someone’s been trailing us
4. Scope out potential safe havens if someone appears to be following us
6. Change direction if a car appears to be following us while on foot
7. Run outdoors with only one earbud in to keep the other on to check on our surroundings
8. Pretend to listen to music while walking by men who attempt to engage with us
9. Take alternative routes to avoid areas we know we are likely to face harassment
11. Cross the street when we see men who look like they might be drunk
12. Avoid eye contact with men trying to get our attention
13. Avoid entering elevators occupied by only one other person who is a stranger
14. Text friend or family before going out for a run or on a date with a stranger
16. Decide not to open Facebook messages from unknown men, who could see it has been “read” and become hostile and harassing
17. Never open the door for someone we’re not expecting
18. Buy pepper spray: for the purse, for the car and one for the home.
19. Make sure we’re not the only woman on the bus
21. Making sure we have enough cell phone battery before leaving a place to last until we get to another
22. Wear a hoodie when driving late at night to appear male to other drivers
23. Check for an official city medallion number when entering a taxi
24. Never leave a drink unattended at a party
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