Women are often seen as weak and vulnerable targets because historically patriarchy has always subdued them. Violence against a woman is caused by inequality and discrimination which still exist. Women have been considered secondary to men for a long time and still are considered the same. Even though many say and try to show that they treat both sexes as equal. Women, especially if they are unaware cannot change this.
Similarly, in order to stop the violence against women, there must be awareness first. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the UN defines sexual violence as a gender-based violent act that can result in sexual, physical or psychological harm to a woman and includes coercion, deprivation of liberty and threats of acts of violence.
In order to prevent sexual assault or violence against women, women themselves have been taking a stand. Following are important awareness tips that women can follow to be safe and deflect any intended attacks.
Awareness: The first tip is women safety awareness. Being aware of your surroundings and of yourself is always the first task to keep safe. It begins long before any attack can take place. Take cognizance of what is going around you. If you can spot any possible troublemakers before they make a move, you have a good chance of defending yourself as you are aware that a person or persons may cause problems. Criminals often use the element of surprise for their benefit and by being aware you rob them of that advantage.
Speak: Do not be afraid to talk or raise your voice if someone is trying to come closer or trying to corner you. Places like a parking lot can be vulnerable to single women and so don’t be afraid to yell. Yelling or shouting can attract the attention of others who are nearby but not at a viewing distance.
Use of phone: If you are walking alone then don’t talk on the cell phone. Talking while walking alone can distract you and give the assailant an opportunity to attack. Instead, use your phone to your advantage. Have it ready to dial an emergency number or 911. You can preset a button to immediately dial the emergency number if someone tries to attack.
Protect your home address: When giving out personal information such as your home address, be very careful. A potential attacker can get wind of it and you may be in danger. If you are giving the address to your pharmacist, do not broadcast it, instead say it softly or write it down for him. Also, be careful with your purse, it again holds information about you, like your home address. Anyone who steals it will know where you live and that makes it potentially dangerous if you live alone.
Avoid giving out information on the internet: This tip is quite helpful as people do it quite commonly. When you are going somewhere don’t check-in on Facebook. Today everyone does this. However, this means giving advance information out. Instead, if you have to check-in, do so as you leave or after you have left a place. That way no one will know your exact location.
Above are the few important tips that can keep women safe. There are many other tips that you can follow to stay safe, but the above seemed the most basic and important ones. Other tips like walking in well-lit roads at night, learning self-defence, keeping self-defence tools, parking safely and locking doors are also something that is a part of general safety which you must make a habit of. It may take time to change the mindset of attackers that view women as weak. So for the time, we as women, can empower ourselves and take care of our own safety.