A Girl’s Guide to Basic Self-Defense

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: 59.2% of undergraduate women say they were harassed in university, according to the AAU Campus Climate Survey. Despite women all over the world working hard to instill awareness about these issues in society, sexual assault and physical/psychological bullying still plague campus environments. Us BU students may remember the Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergraduates course that we were made to complete before entering our campus as freshmen, but as young women, we still need to take our safety into our own hands. Read on to discover simple tips to avoid situations that may threaten your physical or mental well-being. 


  1. 1. Learn Easy Defense Moves

    Dylan Nolte

    This is perhaps the best way to ensure your safety no matter what situation you’re in. You can use everyday objects as weapons, or even use some good old kicks and punches to land some butt-kicking moves. Some examples are:

    The Car Key Strike: Car keys are sharp in nature and can cause significant damage to a potential attacker. Aim at the sensitive parts: the face, throat, and groin.

    The Elbow Stab: Your elbows are more useful than you think they are: they’re super handy for stabbing an attacker in close range! Again, aim for the face or the jaw for maximum impact.

    The Groin Attack: When in doubt, aim for the groin. Just aim low and kick as hard as you can. It’s the most vulnerable spot, especially if your attacker is male, and usually slows them down enough for you to make your escape.

  2. 2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

    The Lalatennis Shoes Grass

    Being extra observant can help you discern the atmosphere around you. Take note of the kind of people you’re surrounded by, how brightly lit the area you’re in is, and the path you’re taking to get to your destination. Keeping track of these things will help you plan an escape or call for help more easily.

  3. 3. Always Inform Someone of Your Location

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    It may seem overcautious to let someone know where you are all the time, but doing this can actually be reassuring. Knowing that a trusted friend or family member has got your back in case things go wrong can greatly ease your mind, especially if you’re going out late at night.

  4. 4. Download a Safety App on Your Phone

    hand holding cell phone with social media apps open

    If there’s one thing that never leaves your side, it’s your phone. Safety apps have been on  a rising trend lately, and are super useful in times of an emergency because of how easily accessible they are. Some examples of safety apps are EyeWatch Blackbox, bSafe, and Circle of 6.

  5. 5. Have Emergency Numbers on Speed Dial

    In situations where you don’t have the time to even unlock your phone and activate a safety app, speed dial can mean all the difference in the world. Nowadays, phones already come preset with emergency numbers set to speed dial, but it also helps to set the numbers of trusted friends and family to speed dial so you can reach them when you most need to.

  6. 6. Read Body Language

    red wall shoes shadow brick street

    Shakira was more than right when she said hips don’t lie: in fact, the whole body doesn't. Reading someone’s body language is a subtle art that takes time to master but is almost always reliable. Although words can easily be made up, body movements are usually impulsive and hard to fake. Some behaviors that suggest bad intentions are excessive touch, invasion of private space, and facial expressions like pursed lips, flared nostrils, and dilated pupils. Sudden movements towards you and a general tightening of the body also indicate that a person is contemplating physical assault.

Although women protection programs and laws are being implemented around the world, we are far from a society where we can walk outside without worrying about our safety. Violence against women has been a longstanding problem that finds its roots in outdated cultural views of women and frequent portrayals of sexual harassment in mainstream media.

The best way to stand up to people who propagate such outrageous ideas is to let them know that we are strong enough, both physically and mentally, to defend ourselves.


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