10 ways to feel safe and be safer.
You may not need a nightlight at bedtime, but walking after nightfall can give you the shivers on the warmest of nights. How can you stay safe without becoming an amateur warrior?
When I was a young girl, I often baby-sat for a young couple named Jack and Angel. At night, when they returned, they would send their Malamute, Nikka with me to walk me home. Nikka was a trained guide dog for Jack who was visually impaired. As we walked along, Nikka would lope ahead of me. He looked like a normal dog about his business. But, when anyone approached, Nikka would put himself squarely between me and the stranger until he was sure any danger had passed. When I got home, I would call Angel to tell her I was home safe. She would say, "We know. Nikka is home." He was quite the dog.
Walking with a large dog. especially one like Nikka, is an ideal deterrant for any would-be assailant, but it isn't an option for everyone and not workable in every circumstance.
You could take a self-defense course, but your best defense is to stay out of danger and if that's not possible, out of an assailant's reach.
Feeling safe is half the battle.
Take precautions that will help to keep you safe. They will not only help as intended. They will also help you to keep your cool, which will help you project confidence. A show of confidence may discourage a potential assailant.
- If possible, don’t walk alone.
- Plan your route along well-lit areas as much as possible. Vary your route if possible. Don't let a stalker learn your habits.
- Carry a small flashlight to use in poorly lit areas.
- Keep focused on your surroundings and area activity. Note the location of safe havens such as restaurants and quick marts. Trust your instincts.
- Stay off your phone. Tune out of text, calls, podcasts, videos, etc.
- Be self-aware. Keep a good posture. Set a good pace. A confident look can deter a potential assailant.
- Walk with purpose. Don’t dilly dally. Stopping to see if you are being followed or watched is the worst move you can make.
- Don't be ambushed from a doorway, alley, or path between buildings. Walk close to the curb or in the middle of the street. Stay away from buildings and shrubbery.
- Get yourself a shrill whistle and wear it around your neck or on your wrist.
- Carry a palm sized pepper spray and be prepared to use it.