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HC Pitt Recommended Self-Defense Items

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Please note that these items are potentially dangerous and should be used as directed. 

It’s an unfortunate truth that women have logical reasons to feel unsafe on the street or in their homes. As a college student, I’m familiar with the anxious feeling of walking home when I forget to bring my pepper spray. Having a self-defense item handy helps to slightly ease my mind, so here are some recommendations from my fellow HC Pitt members that will hopefully help ease your mind a bit too. 


Birdie is a personal safety alarm keychain. When activated by pulling out a pin, it produces a loud siren and flashing strobe light. Birdie is also made by women and a percentage of its profits go to partner organizations such as rights4girls, Alexandria House and Rise Up. The original Birdie is around $30 and comes in a bunch of different colors and designs!

pepper gel

Think of pepper gel as pepper spray 2.0. Generally, spray and gel have the same strength. The biggest difference between the two is gel has the benefit of shooting at a much farther distance and reduces the risk of wind blowback. There are also some pepper gels with seat belt cutters and window breakers in case of the need for an automotive escape. Keep in mind that pepper sprays and gels do expire, so be sure to check manufacturer details on when they should be replaced. 


A giant metal water bottle is a staple for most college students anyway, but it also can be used for defense if needed. It’s been recommended that a full bottle could be used as a bat, half-full bottles could be used for one-handed overhead swings and empty bottles could be used as a throwing distraction (to the face if possible). 

Portable locks

These temporary locks are portable and affordable. Simply insert the metal plate in the door frame, close the door, and hang the handle on the plate for an extra layer of security if you live alone or are traveling. 

safety whistle

A simple whistle that is easy to use and will never run out of battery is a nice item to add to your keys. Storm Whistle is a great option, it can travel up to ½ a mile away with its resonance chamber. Its decibel reading is around 120 and can cause ear damage to your attacker (be sure to cover your own ears first). 

Hi, I'm Claire! I'm a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh and a pre-pharmacy major. I love reading, singing, and animals. In my free time, I'll be cuddling with my cat watching TikToks.