It's Time We Protect Ourselves

“1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner.”

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as “as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

Women all over the world fear for their lives each and every day because of gender-based violence. I am afraid to walk alone at night like many other women in fear that I’ll be followed, harassed, or even assaulted. I am not able to fully relax until I’ve reached my destination. The increased paranoia and anxiety has become inevitable.

The disappearance and death of Sarah Everard has pushed the Ending Violence Against Women movement forward and has further proven that women have every right to fear for their lives on their walk home. Sarah Everard is just one of thousands of women who have lost their lives to domestic and gender-based violence. Women have been conditioned to do certain things in light of these acts of violence, such as: 

  • walking with your keys in your hand and holding the blade to use as a weapon if someone attacks you

  • not playing your music too loud because you won’t hear if someone’s following you

  • being or pretending to be on the phone with someone while walking home so you have a witness in case you are being followed

Sarah’s tragic story has sparked movements such as #ReclaimTheseStreets and #SheWasJustWalkingHome. On top of it all, Sarah was murdered by a police officer. This raises conversations of police brutality and further proves that the justice system has failed us. Those who are meant to protect us are actually the ones who inflict harm. Who can we trust? 

This has amplified the need for women to carry self-defense weapons. Here is a list of just SOME of the items women should carry with themselves at all times:

  1. Personal Keychain Alarm: These alarms have a button that when pressed, a piercing alarm sounds hundreds of feet away. This can be used to alert your surroundings that you are in danger or feel unsafe. Personal keychain alarms are legal in every state and retail for up to $30. 

  2. Pepper Spray: This is one of the most popular self-defense products for women. The user is able to spray a blinding substance into the attacker’s eyes, which causes temporary blindness and a strong pain. This gives the user the opportunity to flee or call for help.

  3. Defender Ring: This is a self-defense ring that users are able to wear as jewelry. Under the jewel, there is a sharp weapon that can cut human skin and collect the DNA of the attacker.

Unfortunately, women are always at risk of being attacked, and it is important to look out for you own safety as well as others’.

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.”

-Kofi Annan