Safety Tips for Single Women The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 1 in 4 young women will be a victim of sexual assault while they are in college 1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex 1 in 10 teen girls will be hurt on purpose by someone they are dating. 4/5ths of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens. During a 1 year period, 3.4 million people ages 18 or older in the U.S. were stalked During 2010, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 18.7 million violent and property crime victimizations Being a Lady: The thing to remember about women is that they're a lot smarter than men and they don't play fair. - Clint Eastwood Women will act the way they are taught. In general, we are predisposed to being more gentle, empathetic, and sensitive than men. Our characteristics include greater compassion, tolerance and deference. While these are desirable character traits, they often lead women to hesitate before they respond to an assailant. It is often hard for us to believe that someone is intending on harming us. Many times, we are slow to react because we want to nurture the situation back into a healthy status. Our compassion and nurturing nature makes us hesitant to offend The example I often use is the difference in the way men and women watch television. Unless it is a program they have set out to watch, most men will hunt for an interesting program. They will click on one channel, watch for a few seconds, then flip to another channel. This is why they love to control the remote. A woman on the other hand will flip on a channel, and unless it is something she absolutely does not want to watch, she will sit and watch, hoping that the plot will reveal something interesting. We 'nurture' the TV program, hoping it gets better. But a lot of times, it just doesn't. And when facing a potential assailant, the tendency to nurture a situation can be fatal. Physically, we are different from men as well. We lack muscle compared to the brawn of men. We are not usually trained as physical fighters. We often rely on false security measures: A spouse or boyfriend, a security alarm system, a Rottweiler, or the police. But our significant other are not usually with us 24/7. Even if they are, they can be quickly disabled, as can even the most vicious dog and elaborate security systems. The police respond to calls. By that time, the bad thing has already happened. 3 Common attackers: The Stalker. This guy has been watching you for awhile. He knows where you work and where you live. He has studied your schedule. He may even know what you favorite lunch meal is. He plans his attack for the time you are most vulnerable. Mr. Nice guy: This could be your co-worker, a classmate or a neighbor. He always smiles. He is friendly. He is just a nice guy. So you let your guard down around him. You might accept his invitation to just hang out. You may not have any romantic inclination towards him, but you think he would be a good friend, because, well, he's so nice. He knows your guard is down and uses the fact that you trust him to his advantage. The Tackler: Many people think of this type of assailant when they hear of an attack. This is the guy who will hide in the shadows just waiting for a victim to walk by. The truth is, that more attacks against women are committed by the first two kind of men than by the tackler. Although an attack can occur anywhere, there are certain danger zones: Parking garages College campuses Grocery Stores Outdoor parking lots Stairwell Hotel hallways Any place void of people. So what can you do to protect yourself? Trust Your Instincts! If a situation doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Get out of it as fast as possible! Be aware of your surroundings. Don't text and walk through a parking lot. If you are a jogger, make sure any music you listen to does not block out other sounds. Make eye contact with the people coming towards you. Note their appearance. Don't be afraid to offend someone. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, it is perfectly fine to be impolite. Be outright rude if you have to. Be bold. If you feel you are being followed, look the person right in the eye and ask them if they are following you. You can always apologize later if your instincts were wrong. But you cannot undo the effects of an attack if your instincts were right but you did not act on them. Don't assume 'it' can't happen to you. "It" can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime. Be prepared! Learn self defense tactics. Fight back. Carry and be ready to use self defense weapons such as pepper sprays or stun guns. If you are attacked, know it was not your fault. You are a victim. Find counseling or help and tell yourself, you are stronger than your circumstances and you will survive. Wendy Megyese is a Deputy Sheriff and a School Resource Officer. Her passion is educating and empowering law abiding citizens with self defense tools and techniques so they become victors and not victims. Visit her website at http://www.bestlinedefense.com/self-defense-for-women.html to find the best in pepper sprays, stun guns, and other self defense and security products designed for women.