With April being Sexual Assault Awareness month I have decided to write a few tips on how to stay safe when out at the club or bar. Remember that you should be able to wear or act however you want out and you should never feel responsible if something does happen. But if you stay smart and stay safe you and your friends can enjoy a fun time out.
1-Use the weapons available to you
While some women, myself included, carry pepper spray or knife everywhere, others do not. If you don’t have or want a can of pepper spray or pocket knife no worries, there are many other weapons available to you. If you wear heels know how to use them, these can be very pointy weapons. If you’re ever in a situation that makes you afraid jam your heel into any soft tissue such as the abdomen or upper thigh. Or you can remember the S.I.N.G technique from Mrs. Congeniality. Solar Plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin. Or elbow them in the stomach, slam your foot down on the top of theirs, slam the heel of your hand upward into their nose, and knee them in the groin. Your car keys can also be a hand weapon. Just separate the keys and put one poking out from between each fingers (think Wolverine or Freddy Krueger). Another weapon is your purse, even if it’s not heavy. Swing your purse as hard as you can and keep swinging. In a pinch anything around you can be used as a weapon but I recommend having an idea of one in advance.
2-Take a friend
I know I know what woman goes to the bathroom alone? But there is more than that. Do not go drinking alone. Having at least 1 or 2 friends ups your safety factor by a lot. There is safety in numbers. A larger group of people is less likely to be bothered or allow someone to be in danger. If you go anywhere don’t go alone. Smoke break outside? Take a friend. Getting another drink? Take a friend. Going over to flirt with that cute guy? Take a friend on the sly. Make sure your group always knows where you are and do the same for them. Keeping tabs on each other is safety not mothering.
If you don’t want to carry a purse around with your, or even if you do, hide your ID and money on your person. This way if someone steals your purse you have what you need to get home. Hide it somewhere that is not obvious (yes your bra can now double as a pocket). If you are comfortable with it you can hide them in your shoe as well. Keep this money for emergencies such as needing a taxi home.
4-Watch your drink
Always keep your hand over your drink or your drink in sight. Especially in a crowded area. Don’t leave it unattended and don’t accept a drink from a stranger. If you want to accept a drink from that cute guy making eyes at you across the room then go to the bar together and watch the bar tender pour it. It is too easy for someone to slip something in a drink and take advantage of a person. I know I said to do whatever you want in the beginning but here I would like to warn you to keep track of your drinking. The more inebriated you get the better target you become. If you plan on getting so drunk you can’t walk straight make sure your friends are there to take care of you.
5-Listen to your gut
Your instincts are a great alarm system. If someone makes you feel nervous, walk away. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, remove yourself. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. If your alarms are going off then you go off. Don’t ignore your instincts either. Just because the guy is charming or hawt! remember that he could be dangerous too. And not in the good way. Creepy people do not always look like creepers.
6-Use your voice
Don’t be afraid to speak up. If someone grabs you that you don’t like say something. If someone corners you by your car at the end of the night, scream your head off. Use those lungs to keep everyone safe.
7-Have a DD
If you are drinking assign a designated driver. If you are the DD (sorry for that one) then make sure you round up all your drunk kiddies at the end of the night and pile them into your car. If all of you want to drink then keep a reputable taxi service on speed dial. Knowing how you’re getting home removes any worries. Remember no one wants a DUI. And no one wants to wake up in bed next to the frog that was a prince after six shots of tequila.
8-Know where help is
Last but certainly not least, know where you can go for help. Your friends are there to keep you safe but if you need real help go to a security guard, a bar tender, or any other employee of the club/bar. They have procedures in place to help people. If they do not call the police for you then do it yourself. A large number of assaults go unreported which allows the attackers to get away with it. Even if it’s hard to talk about take a friend or someone that comforts you and make a report.
Follow these few steps and make a plan to stay safe. We all have to look out for each other. Remember men can be victims as well. Don’t let the creepers make you feel like you can’t be you. If you want to wear a short skirt or twerk on the dance floor. Do you. But just remember that there are creepers out there. Take steps to keep yourself safe from them.