Maintain a high level of awareness and think about self-protection. A lot of the following precautions are common sense, it’s just that we don’t use our common sense a lot around cities at night.
- Plan your route in advance. Know where you are going and how to get there.
- Avoid dark and isolated streets and shortcuts.
- Familiarize yourself with your route so you know, for example, where there are large bushes or concealed entrances, and where your nearest points of help might be.
- Always try to walk on the side of the road where you will be facing on-coming traffic if you suspect danger. This makes it more difficult for a vehicle to follow you closely.
- Do not use earphones while travelling. You need the use of your hearing at all times.
- Never accept a ride from a stranger, no matter how tempting it might seem.
- If people are expecting you at your destination, let them know what time you expect to arrive, tell someone at home where you are going and how long you will be.
- Walk assertively, and purposefully. Keep your head up, maintain a brisk and steady pace, and be aware of your surroundings. Try to look as if you know where you are going. Don’t daydream, get a move on.
- Avoid walking alone at night in poorly lit, isolated streets and high crime areas. Ask a friend to join you, if possible.
- Always carry emergency money for a phone call and, if possible, for a taxi. Never use these funds for anything else. Emergency numbers, such as the police, ambulance or fire departments can be called free from pay telephones.
- Keep your mobile phone charged and make sure you have credit for calls.
- At night, have your keys ready between your thumb and index finger. This saves you from wasting time fumbling for it when you arrive at your door, and it can be used as a weapon in an emergency. It can be slashed across an attacker’s face.
- When meeting a group of people for a social gathering or meeting, try to arrange a car pool or take a taxi together.
- Keep a close watch on your purse and/or wallet and other personal possessions. Do not display large amounts of cash to a potential thief.
- Be on the alert at all times. Do not forget to take precautions, even in familiar areas.
- Avoid ‘digging’ for things in your purse or bag out-of-doors.
- Try to keep shopping bags, etc. to a minimum so you have a hand free and more freedom of movement, in general. Consider using a backpack for carrying purchases.
By being assertive you communicate your wishes clearly, take initiative, make decisions and assume responsibility for your actions and control your life.
The greatest advantage an attacker has is the element of surprise and the resultant freezing or passive response he expects from you. If you aren’t passive, you will surprise him and gain an advantage.
By being assertive in everyday life you are taking control and assuming confidence in a whole range of situations. You learn to value yourself and your judgement, and these lessons are invaluable when you are threatened. Attackers prey on vulnerable people who come across as ‘victims’. Assertive body language is an essential part of self-defense techniques…
Display your assertiveness
- Erect, relaxed posture, with head and shoulders held straight. Do not stoop.
- Confident march or walk. Do not shuffle your feet.
- Balanced posture.
- Relaxed facial expression and open eye contact. Look the person you are speaking to in the eye. If you can’t see the person you are speaking to, turn your head and body toward the sound of his voice.
- Firm and controlled tone of voice.
- Casual hand movements, with hands open and relaxed.
- Maintenance of a comfortable distance between yourself and the other person.
Adopt an assertive attitude, and tell the world that you are:
- Someone to be reckoned with.
- Someone who knows your own mind.
- Someone who will stand up for yourself.
- Someone who will not bow to the wishes of others.
- Someone who is not a potential victim.