Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No More Missing Women Please!-Simple Ways to Protect Yourself

More often than we would like to come to terms with, we see that another woman has gone missing.  It is appalling how many women actually just vanish every year.  Many of us take for granted that we are safe in the light of day, or in our own neighbourhoods; but the truth of the matter is, anything could happen-anywhere-at anytime. Take 20 year old, Lauren Spierer from Indiana University for example, who on 3 June went missing after a simple night out with friends, during which she was barely if at all left alone; or Laura Oates McCabe, a 15 year old from Dublin who has been missing since Friday, 17 June.

''One United Nations estimate says from 113 million to 200 million women around the world are demographically "missing." Every year, from 1.5 million to 3 million women and girls lose their lives'' as cited by Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the International Herald Tribune.

Those numbers are shockingly alarming,  and highly preventable.  There are many ways we can protect ourselves, but we need to start now.  I just wanted to share some methods of protection that we can try to incorporate into our daily lives and share with the women we know to avoid becoming one of the worst statistics.

Keep personal belongings close to you. You might even want to avoid carrying a bag or purse that could be pulled off your arm or shoulder. Please do not carry more than you are capable of handling at one time.  Fumbling to find your keys or credit card leaves ample time for a predator to make their move.  The less distractions you have of your own, the more alert you remain and the less weak you appear to a potential attacker.  Do not allow yourself to be labeled as prey for such a simple reason that you can easily avoid : actions we all do that would more than often not even be given a second thought.

Take a self-defense course. Taking a self-defense course can  help you learn how to protect yourself in a situation that could be potentially dangerous or violent. Another benefit of taking a self defense course?- your confidence is boosted thus allowing you to panic less should you find yourself being attacked. Lastly- you will learn skills that you will be  to pass on to all your friends and family to help them protect themselves as well.

Always dress accordingly. I am not saying you can no longer wear a fab dress but if the outfit is too provocative or appears extremely easy and quickly removable- you should probably avoid it. (which yes ladies can even include wearing tracksuit pants/sweat pants and they are slid off much easier than denims)  Dressing smart and confidently will give an air of strength.  Even opting for denim will deter predators as it would take too much effort and time to attack you ''successfully.''  For predators it is time and opportunity plus power.  Remove the ability for them to take or have any of these and you are more likely to be safe.

Keep a cell phone with you at all times. Always make sure you have full battery life and have the cell phone readily available for use. Keep emergency numbers on speed dial!  That way you can make necessary contact should you need to.

Trust your intuition. I know- it doesn't sound so concrete- but we all know that feeling in the pit of our stomach we get before something bad happens. And more often than not we are right- aren't we? However, we ignore it so much. Keeping headphones in on a dark street when we're walking alone among other silly mistakes we all make.Our intuition is amazing and we owe it a little more acknowledgment and respect. Your intuition WILL tell you when a situation is not right and how to respond. Please ladies- listen to that inner voice and your gut a little more- it will help you get out of a bad situation before it ever happens.

It was one thing my father taught me while I was growing up in busy New York City: always be prepared, Expect the Unexpected (which I rightly have inked on my bicep).  There are many ways we can protect ourselves and I just really wanted to share some of them with you, so that you would be better prepared or at least take these suggestions to heart.  The more and more we pass the word on about protecting ourselves, the less and less those alerts of missing women will be plaguing headlines.

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