What do I mean by ‘groups of people’? Well, there are too many to list but here are a few to begin with:
– Transgender people
– Black people
In this article, I’m going to focus on females.
I know a number of women who restrict what they do because of fear. Here are some examples:
- I can’t go for a walk at x time of day as there usually aren’t many people around
- I can’t stay out beyond a certain time because when I make my way home I’ll be on my own and the streets won’t be lit
- I’m approaching a large parked vehicle. I need to find a way to not get too close to it
- I should only wear one earbud to ensure I can hear anyone who’s approaching
- I mustn’t drink too much
- I should avoid smiling as someone might perceive that as me expressing an interest in them
Here are some examples of things that females experience on a daily basis
- Being wolf-whistled at as we walk away
- Being shouted at
- Being touched without permission or encouragement of any sort
- Being pushed up against
- Being verbally abused when we reject propositions
- Being told that we asked for it because we were out late
- Being told we asked for it because we were wearing provocative clothes
- Being told that we asked for it because we were smiling
- Being told that we asked for it because we had a few drinks
Let’s take a few of these examples and think them through.
Uh! How disgusting! Imagine someone coming up to you and pushing themselves up against you. In what world is that OK? Some guy stroked my hand when I was on the tube. I was disgusted and didn’t know how to handle it!
When you thought you had a chance, you showered me with compliments and made your case about why we should dance, go out etc. However, after I said no, even though it was polite you started saying that I’m probably a lesbian or frigid. I have experienced this several times!
Why is it OK for men to go out and return whenever they want but females can’t? Why is it acceptable that women have to have some sort of self-imposed curfew if we want to be safe?
I’m sure you’ve seen men walking around in public without a t-shirt on. They might be wearing shorts. Do you think they hear people shouting ‘sexy legs’, ‘look at the legs on him’, ‘you’re so fit’, ‘hey hotness come over here’, ‘let me stroke that chest’ etc etc? No! It doesn’t really happen! But if it did, would they feel unsafe? I don’t think men think about what they should wear because they’re worried about being accused of provoking others or told that they asked for unwanted attention.
Recommendations for females
I asked a few people what they do, what they recommend or what they expect females to do. I asked males and females. Some were single, others were in a long-term relationship, some had kids and some were younger than 30.. I’m sharing this because regardless of all of this, the majority didn’t seem to bat an eyelid about the question and they had multiple suggestions. It was as if it was normal and acceptable.
Below you’ll see some of the replies that I received.
Being aware of surroundings and people around.
No tying hair in a ponytail as it makes the person vulnerable to attack from the back.
Be aware of surroundings
Don’t walk down unlit/ dark streets
Keep pepper spray or something similar
Let a friend/ family member know when you leave/arrive at destination
Let someone know your whereabouts
When meeting friends, I always give the address and names of who I’m meeting and at least one of the group’s phone number to my husband.
Avoid dark and dingy roads
Take cabs when late
Trust your intuition
Act confident and stride purposefully
Don’t rummage for keys etc in the bag. Keep such things handy so can quickly get into a car and house
Cross-body bags and rucksacks may be safer than one shoulder bags (from theft perspective)
Stay alert and vigilant
Carrying a personal alarm
Asking friends to text when they get home
We take it in turns to car share if we live locally. One person drives to the other and we go in one car
Even though am not a female, these are what I know
Pre-plan route home
Pretend or actually talk to someone
Hold protruding key in a fist in your pocket
I wouldn’t go out too late on my own into the city by train nowadays.
However, younger ladies use apps that keep track of your movements
And WhatsApp also has live location info too. So you can send your location to someone and they can keep track
Google has a live location. Hubby and I can see each others location 24/7
Having our phones on 100% charge
Constantly looking behind us
Calling a friend if we’re walking alone
Constantly sharing our location
Having someone on speed dial if we’re in public or private transport just in case
Covering our drinks
Keeping any devices eg a knife, pepper spray to keep us safe
So things like staying in a group when out, watching your drink
Always look over your shoulder
Be wary and alert about your surroundings
Try stay in well lit areas
Possibly go to places where there’s always publice around
Have 999 ready on the on the phone ready or another contact
Walk in lighted area
Be alert if someone is following you meaning don’t be distracted by being on a phone. Cross over.
Keys in your pocket ready to get into your home and not looking at your front door
Walking, running shoes!
Drinks, don’t let someone buy you a drink whom you don’t know
Trains, tubes. Be aware of who is around you. Something better to get off and catch the next train or change compartment, if you don’t feel safe.
Driving, look doors. If some is trying to stop you and you don’t know them, carry on.
If police, get them to ring their department so you can speak there and confirm that the officer is for real!
If possible avoid being out alone in dark and winter.
Oh let person at home know when leaving late so that they know roughly when to expect you. See if they can pick you up from station. With Xmas coming, there will be office parties and late night’s
check behind me on a quiet dark street and cross over the road if a male behind me.
never take alleyways or shortcuts through a park or very dark area – during the day I would check that I can see the exit and other people going down the street too
on a train – tend to get on a carriage with other people – never on an empty carriage (but have told my son to use same precaution)
don’t jog at night
make sure female friends text me when they get home and I know how they are getting home and try to make sure we are in groups leaving restaurant/bar.
we use Life360 app on phone to see where family are.
if there is a large group of men/boys on pavement I will cross over and not go through them.
It’s 6 pm, I’ve just left work and the first thing I do is lock the car and I am in a private locked car park!
And my husband can go jogging at 10 pm with little worries
My phone is charged fully
I do not listen to music when there are not many people
Extra vigilant on lonely places
Shout for help if needed
Wear my handbag across so difficult to snatch
Also better to carry an across shoulder handbag so it cannot be grabbed.
My driving instructor told me to always carry a small hairspray or muscle spray in the driver’s door. If anyone tried to get in, use the spray. You can’t be charged with carrying it but it would certainly disorientate someone.
Hey, I always lock my car door as soon as I get in. I call my husband when I reach my destination and when leaving but other than that I don’t do anything else. I guess you should def have some sort of a panic alarm?? X
I never used to be frightened to go on public transport on my own before when I was doing it regularly. However now as I get older, the street lighting is rubbish and the media..I would be too scared to do too regularly. Also I’d message when leaving one place and let them know when I’ve arrived.
And I always carried my keys in my hand.. if someone attacks then they’ll get scratched…thru self defense. But you can’t advice that on a public blog
In a nutshell what I’m trying to say is one need to see if there is more than one route n try to take the route which more lively, though it might b longer route for the reason it b safer . Second is anyone else could give u company third whether it’s necessary to go on yr own , could it b avoidable .
Worse come to worse call for a cab , might need to compensate cab money by cutting other expenses. No go thru park. Buy a device ( if there is one in the market ) their would draw people’s attention.last but not least always always let HSE memberyr where about.n near time yr coming back.
I’m not sure this will be osbany help beta
Good luck take care.
I do the following:
make sure my phone is fully charged
try and talk to someone if it’s dark (via phone call)
not get overly dressed up, if I’m alone
try to travel with someone at most times
Always walk with friends and use well lit roads.
Carry a pull cord rape alarm incase needed. There loud, effective and only cost a few pounds on Amazon.
When in a club / bar never leave your drink, if you do need to leave it to go toilet ect make sure you give it to a friend and the bar person to keep behind the bar. Most clubs / bars offer this now.
Ask for Angela at most bar/club/hospitality venue if you feel intimidated or are being harassed.
The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign was the brainchild of The initiative has been rolled out to bars, clubs, pubs and other licensed hospitality venues nationwide.This safety incentive aims to protect women who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened. Those experiencing sexual harassment or similar behaviours from other punters can discreetly seek assistance from trained bar staff and team members by asking them for ‘Angela’.
Share your plans with people you know. It’s always wise to keep a relative or close friend in the loop of how your night’s going. Plan your journey and share all details, including arrival times and locations, with those close to you so they can take action if something goes wrong. Keep them in the loop as much as possible.
Your phone has unique emergency SOS features depending on whether you’re using iOS or Android technology. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t speak on the phone, you can ping your location to an emergency contact, with some phone models capturing images and audio recordings.
If you think someone’s following you, walk towards busier roads or dip into an open shop if you spot one. What’s more, if you see someone else, ask them for help. You could also pretend to make a phone call, alluding to a situation where a perpetrator would need to hide – for example, say, “Hello…I’m here, yes. Can you see me?”
If you end up having to speak with a police officer and are unsure of their genuine intentions, you can call the force control room on 101 to check their identity.
Most things I can think of apply to both men and women.
On iPhone you hit lock button 5 times quickly, on Apple Watch, you hold down the side button.
Good to also have location sharing enabled with a few trusted friend/family members (called Find My on Apple).
Avoid walking alone in the dark, or being inebriated. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i-was-followed-back-to-my-hotel-room-after-a-night-out-why-did-no-one-intervene-swsvwc72b
Wear your handbag across your shoulders so harder to snatch.
A bit flippant but find somewhere to live where you feel safe (including leaving the UK, the way ancestors left East Africa if one feels strongly enough about it).
My simple solution:
1) be streetwise
2) if alone don’t risk taking short cuts or lonely areas.
3) in pubs do not leave your drink unattended. If without trusted friends, then take the drink to toilet if you need to take a comfort break.
4) hope your Karmas are good.
1) Check facts before trusting anyone more than necessary
2) Don’t judge book my cover
3) Be sure of your own strengths and capacity to deal with unfortunate incident rather than assuming and counting on external help
4) Heroes and superheros are busy shooting for movies. They don’t have time to show up in real life.
5) Stats say that most of the abuses are by friends and those they hang out with. So be careful with who you choose. It’s better to be alone by yourself or in a smaller group rather than meeting wrong people due to feeling of being left out.
These are some points as a quick reaction to your message. I have not yet thought about this subject too deeply and I’m somewhat old fashioned on this front (better be safe than sorry types)
I personally stick to main, well lit roads- I avoid quiet streets at night despite it being a short cut
If late at night I Uber and share my ride with my sons
I have my phone handy in my pocket if on my own returning home
These are just my personal habits- everyone I am sure has their own preferences/precautions
When I am travelling by train I make sure there are some ladies in the compartment. If they are close to me I move away. Keep myself alert when I am on my own. When I am driving day or night I always lock the doors. When people come for any meter reading I always stay by the front door and don’t close it.
Hope this will be helpful
Stay with a group when you’re out
Tell your parents where you are and what you’re doing
I usually let my partner know where and when I am going and who with or who I’m going to meet there
Also let him know what time I’m leaving the venue to come back home
Just have my phone nothing else
I used to carry an alarm before when I was living in south London, it was ear piercing! Felt I like I needed it then, not so much now
Don’t walk out at night, be in dodgy areas etc…precautions that I guess apply to everyone
Trying to think what I do 🤔
I always walk with purpose, upright and brisk pace ie don’t move like a slow, doddery, easy target.
If I think of others I’ll let you know 💜
It’s a very interesting question but I’m not sure what advice to give. From my perspective, women shouldn’t have to do anything special to keep themselves safe. I think men should treat women with respect and that when they don’t, the problem is with them and needs to be addressed on that side.
Maybe there are some things around alcohol in particular that impair people’s judgement and make it easier for bad things to happen, but I’m not sure what else.
Talking on the phone when they are alone (even if they are not)
I don’t agree on this but I know a lot of women do it
Hi I’ve asked my daughter who is at uni. Presumably obvious things like not going alone where possible, letting people know where you are and when you expect to come back,taking well lit routes where there are people around. She also takes self defence classes at uni.
Her feedback is:
dont wear headphones while you walk
hood up if you have one, – try not to go places by yourself,
make sure ppl have your live location on their phones
Also a few other points:
dont try and hang on to hand bags etc if they are snatched. Not worth potential injuries
avoid displaying expensive jewellery, watches
only unlock driver side door if driving alone don’t stop or wind down window if flagged down by strangers if driving alone – contact police
A couple of things I do
Before opening the car or house door I always look around.
Someone always knows what time I’ll be there. I usually call Nilpa if I am to get to a destination or home late. It’s a check and safety. If I haven’t reached she Will call immediately
Whilst I would like a world where anyone can go about their business without fear, the reality can be quite different. I can only offer my suggestions as a male. Learn self defense; if it can be avoided, don’t travel alone at night; be alert and walk with purpose; don’t wear headphones so you can hear people coming up from behind; get into the habit calling / texting someone when you get to your destination. We track my son’s mobile, which lets us know where he is – maybe this can work with someone you trust.
Isn’t it exhausting?
Imagine having to think like this whenever you go out! How draining and negative.
Yet time and time again, we’ve seen things happen and the result has been to tell females to be home by a certain time, to not go anywhere without a male chaperone or there’s been some other restriction. Why is it acceptable for females to have to think this way and change what they do or how they do it? When the Yorkshire Ripper was at large, the police told women in the area to not to go out at night, which effectively created a curfew for females!
As a response to this, The Leeds Revolutionary Feminist group called for women to march in cities across the UK on the night of 12th November 1977. To march for our right to walk without fear at night. That women should be able to walk anywhere and that they should not be blamed or restricted because of men’s violence.
Reading the replies quoted above, it feels like things haven’t changed much. Females still live fearfully and society seems to accept this as normal, whilst most men don’t have to second guess things like, what they should wear, how much they should drink, when they should go home, how they should get home or whether they should smile or laugh.
The way ahead
What’s the way ahead? How can we bring about change so that females aren’t restricted and don’t have to second guess so much of what they do or don’t do?