Violence in the world escalates each day. For whatever reason, women continue to be the most targeted. Statistics show marked increase in hate crimes against Muslims, particularly Muslim women over the years. It is important therefore, that one equips him/herself to face any danger. Sad as it is, this is the reality, and we should always prepare ourselves for the worst.
So, what do you do if you feel unsafe? What do you do when you are attacked? Do you fight? Do you run? Here are some tips you must remember:
#1. Mind your dress code.
It is difficult to run or fight in heels or a mini skirt. Also, a mini skirt of short dress is easier to rape someone in. Always be mindful of what you wear. Wear easy to run in shoes and makes sure you are ready to defend yourself at any time.
#2. Be very alert and trust your instincts.
You must always stay conscious of your environment. Always listen to that 6th sense of yours. If you have a bad feeling, don’t ignore it as being paranoid. Most of the time, you will be right. Make sure you turn off your music or whatever you listen to and watch out. Forget your social media chats when you are in a lonely place and focus on your environment.
#3. Try to look confident.
Attackers do not feel comfortable attacking someone who seems to be ready. Compose yourself. Don’t be rummaging through your bag or looking confused. It is a very frightening situation, but that is why you need to have your strategy in place before you find yourself in the situation.
#4. Look for a safe haven.
If you feel like someone is stalking you, enter a store or a house and explain to them your situation. If you find none, enter an ATM box. They usually have security guards or are monitored by CCTV. The attacker in his right mind would not attack you there.
#5. Use the Lift instead of the stairs.
Use the lift and stand by the door. If a stranger enters and your instincts tell you it’s unsafe, you can easily step out. Also, if you are going to the 13th floor instance, press all the buttons on the elevator. An attacker might feel uncomfortable attacking you on an elevator that stops at every floor.
#6. Keep your phone and keys handy.
Although you must not busy yourself on your phone, it is important to have emergency contacts. It could be your husband or brother or friend. A quick dial if you feel unsafe, talk to them loudly so that the attacker can hear and even describe him to them. Give them all the necessary details and do not hang up.
#7. Never open your door to strangers.
No matter where you are; hotel, your own house, anywhere, do not open up for anyone you do not know. In addition, if you are about to board a cab at night, first note down the plate number, look at the driver’s face fully and make a call to an emergency contact. Clearly pass on these details while in the cab so that the driver can hear you. He may be discouraged from trying anything funny. Beware of men who try to give you lift. Many serial killers have used that trick.
#8. Say ‘No’.
Attackers do not usually start with force. They may follow you for some time. Perhaps from the store, and he may keep offering to help you. Say no to strangers. And make your no very clear. No smile, look him in the face to identify him, and reject his help.
#9. Make eye contact.
If someone is following you, you should try to have a good look at him. This will make him less comfortable to attack because you can identify him in a line up.
#10. Avoid going out late. That is the easiest way to stay safe. Avoid lonely areas, or being in bad neighbourhoods. Better safe than sorry. Always try to be in public places.
What if the situation escalates and becomes violent?
#1. Run and scream
Run as fast as you can. If he has a gun, statistics show that most of his shots will miss you, and even if they hit, its most likely not going to hit any vital organ. Hopefully your adrenaline will prevent you from feeling any pain at that point.
#2. Fight like your life depends on it
Forget about pain or pity. Go for the weak points; eyes, groin, knees and throat. At this point, a karate lesson will be of no use. Just put all your weight into it. Your plan is to injure your attacker, not to ordinarily cause pain. Dig your nails into his eyes. Kick his balls or grab and yank and pull them. Bite and scratch as hard as you can. Literally try to pull off his skin. You need to fight, hard.
As Muslims, we must follow the Sunnah to achieve the best out of life. A woman should never be left on her own to go about. If you are married, your husband should accompany you to places that are not so safe. If you are single, any male member of your family can serve as your guard. That is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Muslim women. May Allah grant us understanding. Amin.