How To Feel Safer In A Scary World*

*This is a collaborative post*

Ever since I was about sixteen years of age I've been somewhat paranoid about personal safety. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Always better to be cautious right? 

My own paranoia stems from an experience I had whilst at college during which I was stalked and harassed. Although I was never physically harmed, the mental turmoil I went through has really stuck with me. 

I can still remember how sick I used to feel as I'd see him waiting in his car for me outside the college, and how he'd drive slowly alongside of me as I walked home. It felt like it went on forever although it was actually only for a period of weeks. Because of this, I became jumpy, afraid of my own shadow and frightened of going out alone.

When I started dance classes in an evening I knew I'd be getting a really late bus home so I bought a personal alarm. It wasn't anything fancy but it worked and so came with me everywhere. I'd have it ready in one hand, whilst my keys would be clutched in the other, ready to use in defence should anyone pounce. Even now although I drive, if I'm on my own, I have a tendency to dash and leap into the car before locking myself inside. I do hate that I'm fearful but I suppose in a world of many horrors, it's wise to be on your guard. 

Here are some tips I use to try and keep safe:

Safety In Numbers

If you're out with friends, stick with them. I have a rule that I will never leave a friend if I've agreed to go out with them. And thankfully most of my friends live by the same rule. 

Be Sensible 

If you're out on the town or even just in the pub, keep hold of your drink. Enough said really. You don't want someone slipping something into it. I never leave a drink unattended. 

It's wise to keep your wits about you. Obviously still enjoy your evening but try not to get so intoxicated that you don't know what's what or who's who. 

Don't wave your purse, money or phone around in an obvious manner as it may attract potential thieves. 

Have a mobile phone with you should you need to make an emergency call.

Personal Alarm & Pepper Spray

I hugely encourage investing in a personal alarm. They come in neat, compact shapes and sizes these days. Pepper spray is another great idea. Designed to catch your attacker off guard and disable them. If you don't have pepper spray, carry a small bottle of perfume instead. This hurts like hell when it gets in your eyes!

Emergency Money

I don't keep my money all in one place and I also ensure I have enough taxi fare stashed somewhere incase I should lose my purse. You don't want to only have enough for half the journey and end up walking the rest of the way home when it's dark and lonely.

Self Defence 

I did a bit of Jiu Jitsu many years ago as a way to boost my confidence. Although I wouldn't necessarily remember the moves I learnt now, it did do me wonders at the time so I would encourage anyone to give this or any self defence/martial arts classes a go.   

Sadly even taking such precautions doesn't always mean you're entirely safe. According to statistics via Rape Crisis England & Wales, approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year in England and Wales alone. That is both horrendous and hugely scary. 

If you're reading this and have been a victim of abuse, be it sexual assault, domestic violence or otherwise, then firstly I don't want you to feel alone. It's hugely important that you speak to someone you trust and consider reporting what you've been through to the authorities. If you don't want to talk to a family member or friend then there are also Rape Crisis services available such as

CICA UK specialises in claiming compensation on behalf of victims. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government organisation which provides compensation for victims of abuse. CICA UK will work on behalf of you and your family in order to obtain this compensation in a stress-free manner. This compensation could help to pay for therapy or counselling. As it says on the CICA UK website -

'Sexual abuse and assault is an atrocious experience to be put through, claiming compensation can help you get justice and move on with your life.'  

Obviously this is a very sensitive topic and I've tried to be mindful of this whilst creating this post. My only hope is that I've shared some information that might be of use to someone reading this.

Don't be afraid to reach out if you need or want to talk, until next time... xx

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