WOMEN, Do You KNOW How To PROTECT Yourself? How Aware Are You?

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Let me start out this piece by saying, I’m not writing this to scare you, I’m writing this to make you AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS and to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Many times we drift off daydreaming or texting or trust people that we shouldn’t.  Our instincts are sending out red signals about someone or something, yet instead we brush it off as nagging inner voices.  We need to understand the true world we live in and adapt like we have for all of time.  Generally men are stronger physically, so we have to be stronger mentally.

I grew up in the heart of Chicago, a poor to middle class family who has seen her share of drama. My mom worked full time, my step-father was a Chicago policeman and my sister was four years older who didn’t want to associate with her younger sibling very often. So like many others, I was a latch key kid and mostly on my own.

Maybe because of this or because of the stories my step-father use to tell me about all the bad people he came across everyday, I became highly observant to my surroundings,  I learned how to think quick on my feet when it really mattered and basic common sense skills like, trusting my instincts.

So many times I’ve been driving at night, out for a walk, or on my 3rd story porch and watched a woman by themselves not paying attention at all to their surroundings. I’ve watched women get out of their car late at night and not bother to look around because they assume the area is safe. Instead, they’re consumed with whoever they are chatting with on their cell phones or digging in their purse and their head is down.

After telling my best friend many times to be cautious and giving her safety tips, it wasn’t until she was directly affected by two situations, what I had been telling her really set in.  The situations scared her enough to change her ways and BE MORE AWARE.

One night she was coming over and since I knew she would be there soon, I was sitting on the porch waiting for her.  She drove up, parked, got out of the car and walked up to the front door without looking up once. The whole time her head was buried in her phone.

The problem was, that unbeknownst to her, a man had popped up from the shadows a car length away from her, watching her… and I watched him. He stood there until after she went inside, then crossed the street and stood in front of my building listening to where she went. When the door opened on the third floor, his head went up and followed the sound. As I waited for her to come upstairs, he just stood there, looking up.

I didn’t wait for her to knock before I had her hand in mine pulling her towards the porch with my fingers up to my mouth in a shh position. We crouched behind some planters and I pointed out the strange man still standing there as I recounted what had just occurred. Needless to say she was horrified. I’m not sure who this man was but apparently he had done something bad rather recently because within minutes after this happened, two cop cars pulled up, and handcuffed him.

I live on a quiet, ‘safe’ street, in the middle of a good area. This is one reason it hadn’t occurred to her to pay much attention. She was befuddled by her actions because she knew better, she just wasn’t thinking. Fortunately this was a huge eye opener for her and how truly close she came to possibly being attacked.

Then one night, a couple months later, she came by late after work and parked further away that she usually did. As she was sitting in the car, doors locked, getting her stuff together, a car slowly passed. She looked up and watched the car make a u-turn, passing her slowly once again. At this point she started to get nervous and her guards were up. Keys in hand she looked around before she got out and started to walk quickly to the apartment. Halfway there the car returned, pulled into a driveway blocking the sidewalk, with two men sitting inside.

She stood there staring back at them, knowing she could get back to her car if she had to and pulled her phone from her purse. Never looking away from the car she started to call police, slowly moving back to her car. Maybe the men knew this because they backed up and quickly drove the other way as she ran to my place.

LESSON LEARNED

ALWAYS LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS as soon as you get in the car.
~ if you have to text, look through your purse, get directions….lock your doors first

ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS – especially at night, but also during the day

~ Make sure that you are looking around you ALL THE TIME when you are by yourself

~ Do not listen to your music, or play with your phone – whatever it is, it can wait…

~ Have a look around before you get in and out of your car

~ If walking by yourself, carry something that could be used as a weapon in your hand, like your keys

~ If you don’t feel safe walking to your car alone or thru a parking lot, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask someone you trust to walk you to your car.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

ALWAYS HAVE YOUR KEYS IN HAND ready to get in your car, apartment or work

~ You don’t want to be digging through your purse or your pockets in a stressed situation

– IF YOU HAVE MACE, CARRY IT READY TO GO

– IF SOMEONE DOES TRY TO MUG YOU, throw your purse one way and run the other. There’s a pretty good chance they will go for the purse first

IF A SITUATION DOES OCCUR OR IS ABOUT TO, my step-father told me it is better to scream fire than help.  People will generally be more apt to step in or call police if they think they might be in danger as well.

This is a link to some more AMAZING TIPS every woman should know and live by:

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-strong-woman-s-guide-to-protecting-herself

**Don’t ever be embarrassed about taking extra precaution or asking for help or trusting your instincts.  Like I said earlier, it is ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY!  

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Hi, I’m Kirsten

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