Safety Tips For Women
Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when out walking alone? Have you ever wondered what you should do if approached by an attacker? Have you ever worried about becoming yet another home invasion statistic?
The sad reality is that we live in an increasingly violent society in which the fear of crime is ever-present. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for everyone, but especially for women.
Streets, bus stands, railway stations, parks and other public places should be for everyone to access and enjoy. Yet for many women they are the scenes of harassment. Everyday women face systematic assault on their fundamental right to free movement and personal dignity.
Sexual Harassment affects all women in some form or the other. Lewd remarks, touching, wolf-whistles, “looks” are part of any woman’s life, so much so that it is dismissed as normal. Working women are no exception. In fact, working women most commonly face the backlash, to women taking new roles, which belong to male domains especially in the organized sector. In the unorganized sector also it is widely prevalent. Studies have shown that sexual harassment is still endemic, often hidden, and present in all kinds of organisations. 40-60% working women face harassment at working places.
Within the four walls of homes, the violence against women is quite high. Domestic violence against is widely prevalent, but has remained largely invisible. Statistics reveal that 45% of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. (ICRW 2002) .32% had committed acts of violence against their pregnant wives. Every 60 minutes a woman dies in India due to domestic violence. Women accept violence because social norms sanction them. At the same time, cultural conditioning and economic dependence prevent the vast majority of women leaving their marital homes. Though there is criminal law to prevent domestic violence, the recent civil law Protection of women from Domestic Violence is aimed at providing relief, compensation and support to a woman.
1. In India, Dowry system that has been prevailing amongst every society and affected lives of the people who are involved in marriage and on those who are around.
2. When Princesses of a dynasty got married, the King offered, out of overwhelming joy, a part of his wealth and his State to his Sons-in-Law in a grand wedding function. His Ministers also followed this regal practice as a protocol. The public in general, irrespective of rich and poor, followed this showy practice to maintain ‘prestige’ and felt great at par with the still rich society
3. This dubious matrimonial tradition however, seeped into the homes of the poor and downtrodden people to muster a false respect. By then there was already present a guilty conscious feeling of giving birth to and fostering of girl children. Also the growing percentage of female births over male children contributed its share to the corrupt system. The fact that every home having more girls than boys alarmed the elders make hurry the marriage of their daughters and created a ground for competition.
4. The Dowry system has recently become so popular that every groom felt proud and gaudy on the number of items, weight of gold and amount of money he received.
5. The parents of the girls too sighed in relief over gifting their sons-in-law with such things. They relaxed indebted because their daughters will be well respected and best treated by their in-laws, as compared to their counterparts.
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PERSONAL SAFETY
1. Awareness: Your first line of defence. Most people think of kicks to the groin and blocking punches when they hear the term “self-defence.” However, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact. The first, and probably most important, component in self-defence is awareness: awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker’s likely strategies. The criminal’s primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a “force presence,” many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided.
2. Use your sixth sense. “Sixth sense.” “Gut instinct.” Whatever you call it, your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Learn to trust this power and use it to your full advantage. Avoid a person or a situation which does not “feel” safe-you’re probably right.
3. Self-defence training. It is important to evaluate the goals and practical usefulness of a women’s self-defence program before signing up. Here are two tips:
a) Avoid martial arts studios unless you specifically wish to train in the traditional martial arts techniques and are prepared for a long-term commitment. Many women’s self-defence programs teach watered-down martial arts techniques that are complex and unrealistic under the stress of an actual attack;
b) The self-defence program should include simulated assaults, with a fully padded instructor in realistic rape and attack scenarios, to allow you to practice what you’ve learned.
4. Escape: Always your best option. What if the unthinkable happens? You are suddenly confronted by a predator who demands that you go with him-be it in a car, or into an alley, or a building. It would seem prudent to obey, but you must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help, throw a rock on a store or car window-do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.
5. Your right to fight. Unfortunately, no matter how diligently we practice awareness and avoidance techniques, we may find ourselves in a physical confrontation. Whether or not you have self-defence training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, it is important to understand that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you and hasn’t struck first. Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage-strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.
6. Pepper spray: Pros and cons. Pepper spray, like other self-defence aids, can be a useful tool. However, it is important to understand that there can be significant drawbacks to its use. For example, did you know that it doesn’t work on everyone? Surprisingly, 15-20% of people will not be incapacitated even by a full-face spray. Also, if you’re carrying it in your purse, you will only waste time and alert the attacker to your intentions while you fumble for it. Never depend on any self-defence tool or weapon to stop an attacker. Trust your body and your wits, which you can always depend on in the event of an attack.
7. Home invasions: A crime on the rise. The primary way to prevent a home invasion is simply to never, ever open your door unless you either are certain you know who’s on the other side or can verify that they have a legitimate reason for being there (dressing up as a repair person or even police officer is one trick criminals use). In the event that an intruder breaks in while you’re home, you should have a safe room in your house to which you can retreat. Such a room should be equipped with a strong door, deadbolt lock, phone (preferably cell phone), and a can of pepper spray or fire extinguisher.
8. Avoiding a car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45 degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.
9. A travel tip. Violent crimes against women happen in the best and worst hotels around the world. Predators may play the part of a hotel employee, push their way through an open or unlocked door, or obtain a pass key to the room. As with home safety, never open your door unless you are certain the person on the other side is legitimate, and always carry a door wedge with you when you travel. A wedge is often stronger than the door it secures.
10. Safety in cyberspace. Although the Internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn’t careful. When communicating on-line, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same. Keep current on security issues, frauds, viruses, etc.