Pepper spray – otherwise known as the perfect graduation gift for your daughter headed to school in New York City, according to my dad – is probably one of the first things you think of when you think of self defense. Though I’ve never had to use my graduation gift, unfortunately, we still live in a world where it’s necessary for women’s purses to be equipped with self defense tools. It’s especially important for college women to keep these tools in their arsenal, as we’re a major target for attackers (whether they be strangers or people we know).
To keep yourself on your toes wherever you go, here are five great finds to keep you secure while walking, running, or traveling alone.
- Pepper Spray Keychain ($19)
Though there are some state restrictions, this pepper spray adheres to most state laws (for example, in New York and Massachusettes you must purchase your pepper spray in person – it cannot be shipped) as it only contains 1/2 oz of liquid.
This keychain comes in a two pack, in multiple colors.
- Keychain Alarm ($22)
This keychain alarm is my personal favorite, because it looks completely normal. The alarm is small but has a mighty voice, and is used to “startle attackers and alert others.” I personally believe if I felt unsafe, I’d be more likely to keep my finger on an alarm than a taser. It fits perfectly onto your keys and uses a rechargeable battery to ensure you’re always protected. I’d recommend having another device (like the taser or pepper spray) to use after sounding the alarm, as those would have a lasting effect on the attacker, but the loud noise should also startle them long enough for you to slip out of their reach.
- Taser ($10)
This mini stun-gun is sure to fit perfectly in any purse. It also functions as a flashlight and has an internal, rechargeable battery. This is perfect for walking or jogging alone, and is sure to ward off an attacker.
- One Scream
If you’re like me and don’t trust your aim with pepper spray or ability to tase someone, consider downloading a personal safety app. One Scream is a hands-free location device that detects your panic scream and identifies your location. It then immediately calls for help and sends your location to a nominated emergency contact. For Android phones, it can even be set to keep the phone line open so your contact hears what’s going on in an emergency.
Flare is a super cute cuff bracelet that can be linked to an app on your phone. When you hold down the secret button for 10 seconds, emergency contacts are sent your GPS location and a message that notifies them you need help. It then sends you a real-sounding pre-recorded call to give you an excuse to leave a situation. The battery of the bracelet lasts 1-2 years without being recharged, and Flare was even named the top invention of 2020 by TIME!
No matter where you live, these apps and devices are meant to give you peace of mind while being in public. I’ve lived in New York City for two years without ever having to use my pepper spray, but you never know when you’ll need help keeping yourself safe! Be smart and aware of your surroundings, and remember: don’t live your life in fear – live it with a little backup, just in case.
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