Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ladies, be safe and be smart

Today, I read an article in yesterday's newspaper that raised some concern. Yes, I read yesterday's newspaper today. Yesterday was uber busy and I had no time to read the paper. But, I digress.

In the news story, a woman in Eugene was threatened by a man with a knife after she'd gotten into her car. As I read this story, I noticed several safety mistakes that were made.

Number one, she was in a possibly vacant parking lot at 2:00 in the morning. Two, she noticed a suspicious man following her on her way to her car. Three, she went to her car anyway and got inside. Four, she didn't lock her door. The man opened it after she got in and threatened her with a knife, telling her to move over into the passenger's seat.

But the biggest red flag? She was alone.

We talk so much about staying safe, but I realize there are some women out there who think they will be fine. Or, that they are tough enough to handle a situation such as this, just because they have taken self-defense classes. Then there are some who think, "It won't happen to me."

We would all like to tell ourselves that something like THIS won't happen to us. Nobody will ever threaten us with a knife. We'll never be in danger. The world is filled with innocent, caring people.


Ladies, we MUST protect ourselves. It's like I tell my daughter, it's better to be safe than sorry.

And even if we look weak or like cowards for being safe, then that doesn't matter. At least we will be alive!

Fortunately, the woman did get away from this man. She ran back into the store and called 911. He was later found walking along a street and arrested. (Hm, he didn't steal her car. I don't think that was what he was after.)

Now I must point out certain items from that news story that are big safety mistakes:

Going out at night alone. I know that some of us can't avoid being out at night, even at such an hour as 2 a.m. But, for God's sake, if you are a woman who is out and about at night, don't be out and about by yourself! If you can't have someone with you, stay in a public place where there is ample lighting. In the woman's case, she should have asked a store employee to walk out to her car with her. Also, if you DO have to be alone, have your cell phone with you and pepper spray. Bonus points if you have a black belt in karate.

Not thinking twice about anyone suspicious. We get bad vibes from people for a reason. That's our way of picking up on the signal that something's not right. If you don't feel safe around someone or notice someone acting suspiciously around you, DO NOT put yourself in danger. In the woman's case, she should have turned around and walked, or ran, back into the store, not gone to her car where he could get to her without any witnesses.

Not locking the car door. Out of habit, I always lock my car doors after I get in the car. This guy just opened the woman's car door and threatened her. Maybe she didn't have time to lock her door after getting in, maybe not. The story didn't have that information. But, yes, definitely lock your car doors.

On a side note, I have also read that you should keep the key ring around your finger. That way, if you have to punch someone, it'll have an added sting.

I am glad the woman got away from this man and called 911 in the store. That was the smart thing to do. But if she had exercised some other smart safety measures, then she might have avoided such a confrontation altogether.

Always be safe, never be sorry. Even if it means swallowing your pride and not acting so tough or "macho," it's important to exercise safety precautions. It's not worth it to look like you can defend yourself just fine if it means you might lose your life.

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