Tips for Women to Stay Safe in Parking Lots

Parking lots are crime prone areas, and women have higher risks of getting attacked in these places especially at night, or if they are alone, are preoccupied texting and fiddling with their phones, are carrying a lot of baggage and when they are holding children. Since you really can’t avoid driving in and out of parking lots, keep in mind the following tips to avoid becoming a victim in these places.

First, be careful where you park, choose parking lots that are well-lighted and if possible have attendants. Park in a spot near the entrance of a building or mall you will be entering and avoid parking spots located at the farthest part of a parking lot and spots that are hidden from view by trucks or vans.

When you park, keep your doors locked, make sure you don’t have valuable items strewn inside your car that might attract unwanted attention. Remove your key from the ignition, put it in your pocket or purse but never leave it inside even if you won’t be gone long. Before coming out, do a quick scan of your surroundings, and if possible have a canister of pepper spray at hand. When you leave your car, make sure it is locked.

Remember the location of your car and take note of the cars parked beside yours. Do not linger around your car calling, texting or checking your make-up, do these inside the building or place you are headed. When walking away from your car and to it, be alert and walk with confidence and purpose.

Do not hesitate, looking around as if you are unsure of where you are or where you are headed. These can attract the attention of an assailant and can mark you as a potential victim. Even if you are unsure, do not show it; make it look like you know what you are doing.

When going back to your car and you have a lot of baggage with you, do not be shy or too proud to ask the help of an employee to carry your bags for you. Once you reached your car, do not take it from him, let him deposit the items in your trunk or on the backseat of your car. It will be safer this way since you won’t have to fumble all the way to your car, putting yourself at risk.

Once you locate your car, quickly scan the surrounding area again, and have your car key in your hand and ready before heading towards it. If you feel ill at ease and you see suspicious people loitering near your car or idling in theirs, back off and ask for assistance from a police officer, remaining calm and collected while doing so. Also, do not approach people asking for help, if you think they really need assistance call a police officer or 911 instead. Once you are inside your car, lock the doors immediately and drive away. Do not linger inside, checking lists or making them or doing other things.


Using Commonplace Objects for Self-Defense

Being resourceful can often save your life if you find yourself in trouble. Due to the popularity of pepper sprays, personal alarms and stun guns, we often overlook the possible uses of everyday items as potential weapons for fending off attacks and escaping violence. But relying too much on these items can be problematic. You won’t always have access to them, or your attacker might take it from you, rendering you weaponless, but not necessarily defenseless, if you are able to improvise.

Almost everything around you can be used as a weapon, but to be able to use them, you have to recognize their serviceability. Attending self-defense seminars and workshops that can teach you how to use common objects as improvised weapons can increase your ability to recognize potential weapons in your surroundings. In addition, since information is a very powerful tool for defending one’s self, the more you know, the more you can effectively use these items. Not only will you be able to increase the damage your attacker will incur, you can also minimize your risk of getting hurt more than necessary.

If you are outside, you can use sand, coins and hot coffee by throwing them on an attacker’s face to maximize their damage in lieu of pepper spray. Objects with pointed ends like hair pins or hair sticks, stiletto shoes and pens can be used to jab at the soft parts of your attacker’s body like the eyes, the throat and if you apply enough force can also cause damage on the hands, arms and belly. Rocks and shoulder bags can be used to hit your attacker, just don’t throw these items and hope they connect.

And if you are ever attacked inside your house, use everything around you to defend yourself. Almost everything is a potential weapon in your kitchen, knives are very effective when used to cut and stab, just make sure your attacker does not take it from you. Boiling water, soup or any hot and steaming dishes can be thrown against your assailant if he is close enough, or on the floor to delay his approach. Wooden cutting boards, rolling pins, pots and pans, glasses, plates, sharpening steels, bottles and coffee makers can be used to slam or stab your assailant on his face, head and other parts of his body.

In your bedroom, you can use your table lamp, the hardcover book you are reading, your pillow and even your blanket. Some of these items might not actually cause real harm on your assailant but can be used effectively to distract him and give you that needed moment to find much more damaging objects or to escape.

There are other objects not mentioned here, found inside and outside your house, in your office, in the street, in parks and in other places you visit, that you can use to defend yourself. The key to effectively using them in your defense is in being observant and in never dismissing the possibility of these objects becoming useful to you.