In the past week I have written about a woman who was beaten by her husband and thrown in a garbage bin; a man who allegedly raped and murdered a woman in her bathtub; and a nurse who was stabbed to death during a robbery. It’s a scary world, and it can be helpful to have a plan for what to do if you are attacked.
Men are more far likely to be the victims of a violent attack than women, but usually when men are attacked it is at the hands of an acquaintance or stranger. Women, on the other hand, are far more likely to be hurt by someone they’ve been intimate with, meaning a spouse, partner, or ex, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. So if you are a woman, keep in mind that if you purchase a self-defense weapon such as a gun, pepper spray, or a knife, you’re more likely to use it on someone you know than a stranger lurking in an alleyway.
A self-defense class is the best “product” you can buy for a situation like this, because making a plan for attacks will condition you to respond quickly in a threat. And remember that self-defense products will only work if you can access them easily; hold them in dangerous situations, or put them in your pocket within arm’s reach.
Turn the flashlight on while going out walking at night to clearly see your path (and anyone in it); turn it up to high and shine it in your attacker’s eyes long to temporarily blind them long enough for you to run away; use the sharp bezel to strike at your attacker if they get close.
Dummy wallet and cell
If you get mugged, you should immediately hand over your phone and wallet, which are considerably less valuable than your life. It’s easier to do this without much hesitation if you carry an old cell phone and wallet with $20 and some unimportant cards inside, letting you keep your real property tucked away somewhere else (of course, this doesn’t work if you’re on your cell while you’re getting mugged).
Pepper spray with practice canister
It’s important to know how to use your self-defense product before you have to use it. This pepper spray keychain comes with a practice spray canister filled with a non-irritating gel to get used to firing pepper spray before you’re thrown into a stressful self-defense situation.
Compact Stun Gun
Sales of stun guns are illegal in 11 areas in the U.S., but if you can buy one, it’s a good option that temporarily disables your attacker so you can run away. This model comes with a flashlight and a disable pin attached to a safety strap that goes around your wrist; if the pin comes out because an attacker takes the stun gun away from you, the weapon won’t work, meaning it will be harder for your attacker to turn the weapon around on you.
Because any self-defense weapon you can buy can also be used against you if your attacker gets to it first, I have mostly only included non-lethal (but effective) forms of self-defense here. But a knife has other practical uses beyond stabbing—cutting through rope or duct tape if you’re tied up, for instance. If you’re a woman, you might consider a small switchblade you could wear on a chain. This necklace is actually quite pretty, which is more than you can say for most self-defense products.
To use this $2.99/month app, you just press and hold a blue button whenever you feel in danger. When you reach a safe destination, you release the button and enter a pin number. If you’re actually in danger, you release the button and don’t enter the pin, sending local police to your exact location. It’s potentially the easiest and most discrete way to contact police in the middle of danger.
[Images: Etsy; Powertac; Sabre; Home Security Superstore]
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