These days, TV and newspaper reports are full of horrifying stories about women being assaulted and attacked. In fact, chances are you know someone who has been attacked, or may have experienced an attack or frightening experience yourself.
Your fears are certainly justified. Crime statistics show instances of assault against women are way up in recent years. Every 80 to 90 seconds, a women is attacked somewhere in the United States. In more than a third of these cases, when the assailant is already most certainly larger than the victim, he's also carrying a weapon.
No question, it's time to consider some new strategies in protecting yourself. Here are 3 ways women and especially college students can stay safe in these troubled times.
1. In most cases, women are attacked by someone they know. When leaving a party, club, or event, always leave with a group. DO NOT leave alone. You never know when someone who has been watching decides to take advantage of your isolation on your walk home or to your car. Remember, you can't tell a troubled individual or criminal just by the way they look, act, or talk. In a surprising number of cases, women are attacked by a person they previously trusted.
2. Beware of "date rape" drugs. Instances of their use is rampant according to widely publicized police reports. Easily available drugs known as Roofenol, Circles, Mexican Valium, Klonopin, Rivotril, Clonazepam and others can make you unable to remember what has happened to you in the preceding hours. These drugs are like Valium, but far stronger and have no color or taste. Usually, they are added to a drink that is given to the unexpecting victim.
Never accept a drink from someone you don't know well. Always ask for an unopened drink and make sure YOU open it yourself. Let someone else know where you are, and what time you expect to return home. That way they can notify the authorities and get help if you're not back when you thought you would be.
3. Earlier I mentioned that in more than 1 out of 3 cases the attacker has a weapon. The only way you can protect yourself in these instances is to carry a weapon yourself.
Many women don't want the hassle or responsibility of carrying a gun, and for good reason. Firearm accidents are extremely common. Even if you feel justified in shooting your attacker, the legal system may take a long, hard look at what happened. Not only will you suffer from the attack, but you may be dealing with a court case yourself.
By far your best option is to carry a non-lethal weapon like a stun gun, taser, or pepper spray. These personal weapons are not only very effective against attackers, they're very easy to conceal, easy to use, and remarkably safe to carry. The headlines are terrifying, but YOU can stay safe when taking these simple precautions.
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