As a young woman in college, being safe is always on my mind. I am not the only girl here who looks behind her back when walking home at night or calls a friend in a dark parking lot when I’m trying to find my car.
Being cognizant of the importance of safety starts at such a young age. Freshman year in high school introduced me to what reality is like for a young woman. We are constantly told to not trust strangers, adhere to the dress code so we don’t come off as being suggestive, and have a buddy when going to a party. I have had my fair share of uneasy and creepy experiences with men both while I was alone and in groups. It was in my first year of high school that my girlfriends and I had just finished eating on a busy avenue lined with shops and customers when an odd man started following us. We eventually had to rush in one of the stores to escape him. There we notified an employee who let us sneak out the back entrance.
Another scary incident happened in college. One morning I was walking from the parking lot back to my dorm with two of my roommates when an older man approached us, singled me out, and shouted obscenities at me. It was so weird and absolutely shocking I had no idea how to react. Fortunately, my roommates helped rush ourselves into the safety of our building.
Those two incidents are not my only examples. If I had a dollar for every time I was catcalled or honked at I’d have a whole lot of money. Women need to feel safe, just like many of our male counterparts already do. Thankfully, I have acquired a couple of things to make me more prepared for potential harassment or assault.
You may have been told before to hold your key between your knuckles when walking alone at night. This cute keychain is specially designed for self-defense and is small, light and easy to carry. The plastic is molded to resemble a bulldog! The “eyes” are for your front two fingers and the pointy ears are incredibly strong and could definitely help ward off an attacker. You can order it online here!
When alone, a whistle could come in handy if you ever need to quickly get attention or let a potential attacker know you’re aware of them and not to be messed with. The whistle comes with a handy clip that you can easily attach to a bag or backpack as I did here. In a place such as a college campus, where weapons are not allowed, this whistle is a safe and smart addition to your luggage.
One of the most talked-about and effective methods of self-defense is mace/pepper spray. This travel bottle of mace can easily fit in my backpack, on a keychain or in a purse. It’s really easy to use and you don’t have to touch an attacker for it to work. I highly recommend buying one! If you do, make sure to use caution and only bring it places where it is allowed. You can find it here.
Safety is so important and I hope these tips and tricks helped and that you never have to use them!
All body images courtesy of Ingrid Marinak