This is a guide we desperately hope nobody ever needs to use, but one that we felt inclined to put together. So please read it, memorize it, practice it, share it, and we highly encourage you to take basic self-defense classes if they are available to you. Let’s get started.
(image via: istock)
Recognize warning signs in the people that you know. What we mean by this is if someone you consider an acquaintance starts showing up at your work or even your home, see this for what it is: a warning sign. The next step is to set boundaries and if the person doesn’t respect those boundaries, big red flag.
Always know where your exits are. Whether it’s somebody you know or a stranger, if you feel threatened by another human, know where the exits are so you can attempt to leave the situation.
Overreacting is okay. Say you feel threatened and leave a situation just to find out it was all a grave misunderstanding, now what? You’re home safe and you can relax and all is well. But what if you hadn’t “overreacted” and things took a turn for a worse and suddenly you’re in a situation you can’t escape? Never escalate a situation, never verbally attack the person you feel could be a threat, just simply get out before it’s too late.
Don’t look like an easy target. Oftentimes when we find ourselves around someone that makes us feel uneasy, we think it best to simply ignore them, but if you see someone holding eye contact too long or trying to scope out what might be in your bag or whatever the case may be, acknowledge them by throwing them a “hey!” or “how are ya?” and hold that eye contact with them, this tells people that not only are you not afraid of them, but you know their face. If you’re really quick to think, point out something small but significant about them, like “I’d recognize those green eyes/that tattoo/etc. Anywhere, you’re _____, right?” Now they know that you could thoroughly describe them to the police if need be.
(image via: istock)
Always trust your gut. If you’re out and about and feel threatened, strike up a conversation with a group of friendly-looking people, greet them, go in for a hug, and once you’re close enough to whisper to them, throw them a quiet message. Even something as simple as a “help me” can change everything.
If you have to fight, fight with all you’ve got. Your fingernails are vital for this step. Aim for the eyeballs or that really tender skin under the armpit, always make sure you give your attacker a few good scratches so their DNA is under your nails.