Should Girls Carry Pepper Spray Or Safety Mechanisms On Them To Stay Safe?

For most girls, carrying around pepper spray, a whistle, or any small safety mechanism has become normal.

However, is this the best way to stay safe? According to UFPD, it’s one way and can provide peace of mind. 

UFPD Officer Henri Belleville, says girls are allowed to carry pepper spray nearly anywhere on campus, unless something is posted saying otherwise. 

“I don't think it’s [pepper spray] a necessity that you have to have with you. I mean, it's good peace of mind and it's good for if something were to happen to you to have that with you, but I wouldn't say it's something that you have to have,” he said.

Belleville also said that even though the blue light posts on campus don’t have cameras in them, they are still a good way to get help quickly. 

“It’s a good piece of mind that if something were to happen, you can get to that phone and it’s an instant dial of 911,” Belleville said. 

Bellville said it’s smart to always have a plan when going out, whether this is having pepper spray or letting others know where you’re going. 

“If something were to happen to you, you need to be able to have a plan, so whether this is carrying a whistle, having a Gator Safe app on your phone open, tell a friend you’re leaving your home; always have a plan when you go out for your safety,” Belleville said.

Neeva Sethi, an 18-year-old computer science freshman, said she carries around pepper spray on her key chain for safety purposes. 

“Especially anytime at night, sadly I don't always feel safe just because there's not many people around at night and the amount of security like blue lights is not exactly abundant,” Neeva said. 

Sethi also said she used to carry a whistle around, but bought pepper spray at the start of this semester for extra precaution. 

“My mom told me I really needed pepper spray just in case because I do walk home late at night from the library and from my friends’ places,” Sethi said. 

Sethi said she usually doesn’t have any trouble bringing pepper spray into places, and that she usually keeps it on her keychain in her backpack. 

Rachel Wiles, a 20-year-old public relations sophomore, said she has had pepper spray ever since she got to college, and her boyfriend recently got her a taser. 

“I feel unsafe a lot at night,” Wiles said. “My class ends at 9:30 at night and I have to walk off campus back to my apartment at night, so I carry my taser as a precaution.”

Wiles said she thinks girls should carry something to protect themselves, and she says it is sad that girls do have to buy things like tasers and pepper spray in order to feel safe in today's world.

“I’m a very paranoid person, and I know some people who don’t carry pepper spray, but I read a lot of the news, and I read a lot of things including incidents about sex trafficking, and especially around and right off college campuses [so] I always carry my pepper spray.” 

Wiles says she doesn’t necessarily feel safer when carrying these items, but it is better than carrying nothing. 

“If someone was following me or something was happening, my first instinct would not be to run to the blue light, just because I feel like I don’t notice them that much, however, it's better to have them then to not have anything,” Wiles said.