Dating Safety: A Self Defense Resource Guide for Women

Every day, a number of women are attacked by strangers or people in their surroundings. There are other threatening conditions faced by women such as domestic violence, stalking, harassment or sexual assault. A woman should stay alert and know the causes and ways of attack to fight back or prevent these attacks. Here are some things to consider.

Staying Aware of Your Surroundings

It’s necessary to know the surroundings and stay alert as you do not know when or where you may be attacked. Generally, the attacker picks those who are easy to target. Women should look at the people who are behind or around them, like in the elevator or in a bus, they should aslo try to know more about the people in the neighborhood. Stay away from people who try to get physical without any reason. Many women are not aware of the increasing number of date rapes and they make the mistake of assuming that it wouldn’t happen to them. However, anyone can get into such a condition and encounter such dangers in their surroundings. It’s not necessary that the attacker would appear dirty or suspicious, it can be anybody so women are best advised to not trust people by their looks.

  • Being Aware: Find out how to stay aware of the surroundings.
  • Safety Tips: Here’s a good place to learn the 3 A’s of crime prevention.
  • Public Safety: Some useful safety tips on being aware of surroundings.
  • Personal Safety: Learn the ways to be more aware of your surroundings.
  • General Safety Tips: Follow these tips to increase personal safety.

Avoiding Danger/Dangerous Situations

Women should avoid dangerous situations and try to stay sober. Don’t go to late night parties alone because the risks are always higher in such places. Avoid getting close to a stranger at parties and it’s always wise to reject drinks from a stranger. Stay aware of the surroundings and know the location of the nearby police station. Don’t go shopping alone and make it a point not to carry a lot of cash in a purse because it may attract the attention of thieves or robbers. Leave unnecessary credit cards or expensive items at home. Never keep the address, phone number, and keys of the house in one place in the car, don’t park the car in a dark area, and stay away from dark parks or jogging areas. Also don’t wear earphones while biking or driving a car because they may prevent you from being aware of your surroundings. For women who have to take the bus, it’s best to travel with some friends. If women have to take the late night bus on their own, it’s safest to take a bus with some passengers in it. Women who are at home alone should always check the visitor before opening the door, and design certain safety parameters in the house to prevent danger.


Women may suffer sexual or mental harassment in many situations. They should always be alert and stop anybody who tries to harass them. Some teenagers are not aware of the preying eye of a close elder and they may say “yes” to the elders because they have been taught to respect them. Parents should alert their children to be aware of the dangers of harassment. Women should strictly refuse people if they feel something is wrong, whether the person is a respectable neighbor, teacher, friend or relative. Working women may be harassed by their bosses or coworkers. They should be aware of their legal rights and try to fight back in any uneasy situation. Say a firm “NO” to anything which makes you feel uncomfortable.

Sexual Assault/Rape

Date rape has become very common. It happens mostly to teenage girls because they are not aware of the dangers of going to parties alone or even with trusted friends. Wearing flashy and revealing clothes can increase the risk. Many girls face sexual assault or rape when they go to other places, even when they dress conservatively. Women who have to go alone to distance places for work at uncertain times are exposed to the risks of sexual assault or rape. To protect themselves, women have to learn how to reduce the risks. They should learn self defense techniques and keep items in the purse which are useful in times when they are in danger.

  • FAQ: The National Women’s Health Information Center answers questions on sexual assault.
  • What is Sexual Assault?: The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy provides a good explanation of the term.
  • Information Center: The center offers safety tips and other information on sexual assault.
  • Preventing Sexual Assault: Learn how to protect yourself from sexual assault.
  • Defensive Living: The brochure highlights safety tips to prevent rape.

Fight vs Flight

In a dangerous situation, women should shout and scream as loud as possible. They should be ready to counterattack the attacker. If the attacker is only interested in grabbing their purse, it’s best to leave it. If the attacker is looking to violate the body, it’s best to learn some techniques to fight back. Women who are ready to fight may scare the attacker away. It’s important to remember that most of these attackers are cowards so they wouldn’t target women who would put up a good fight. Therefore, it’s important to appear strong and ready to fight. If there’s a group of attackers or the attacker is too strong, the best thing to do is to take flight. Find any which way to get an opportunity to run as fast as possible. Always run towards places where there are many people.

Alcohol & Drugs

As a rule, never take alcohol from strangers or leave beverages unattended. A number of drugs can be used to facilitate rape such as Ketamine, Rohypnol, and Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate. Ketamine causes dizziness and insomnia. If it’s given in a large dose with alcohol, it can cause vomiting. Ketamine is commonly used in date rape because it freezes the victim. Rohypnol is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, which makes it suitable as a date rape drug. The effect remains for more than 8 hours, inducing excitability. However, it can cause confusion for two days. Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate is another date rape drug which can be fatal in certain conditions. It has an unpleasant salty taste.

  • Alcohol: The publication discusses how alcohol is related to sexual assault.
  • Alcohol & Sexual Assault: The article examines the connection between alcohol and sexual assault.
  • Date Rape Drugs: Find out more about these drugs here.
  • Rohypnol: A fact sheet about this popular date rape drug.
  • Drugs: Come here to learn about XTC, Rohypnol, and Ketamine.

Items to Keep Handy/Self Defense Aids

Women should try to use certain items such as a cell phone, stun gun or pepper sprays if they have to travel or walk alone. Predators generally attack those who appear insecure and weak. To use the weapons, it’s best to undergo some training. The attacker can be very fast so women should be prepared accordingly to prevent the attack. If you are being followed, a cell phone can be used to make an emergency call. Sometimes, when the stalker is discovered, he will just go away. A stun gun or pepper spray is always good because the attacker would be momentarily stunned, opening the way for you to escape.

  • Pepper Spray: The article discusses if it’s a suitable tool for police.
  • Mace & Pepper Spray: Find out more about these items before buying them.
  • Weapons: Learn about the lawful use of self defense weapons.
  • Defending Yourself: Discover more about the laws related to all forms of self defense weapons.
  • Guns: The page takes a look at the Second Amendment, self defense, and guns.

Common Objects that May be Used in Self Defense

Women can use certain techniques such as poking the eyes with fingers, biting, pinching, and hitting the attacker on the face during a critical situation. Don’t be softened when you see the attacker bleeding. Look for anything in the surrounding area such as a stone, brick, stick, or bottle. Women can use their handbag or a pen for self defense. For women who are attacked in the home, there are many objects which could be used like pots, cans, forks, knives, guns, shovels, hammers, axes, and so on. It’s also important to take some time to recognize the objects which can be used in such situations. The item should be heavy enough to inflict maximum damage and any object which can be used to cut is very useful.

Self Defense Techniques/Moves for Fighting Back

Women should be trained in some physical moves which can help them in self defense. If the attacker is grabbing their wrist, try to get out by twisting the thumb or pushing the person back using the arm. Women should shout to make it clear that they are not scared. Try to target the groin, face, and eyes. Use elbows to push the person back. Practice the moves with somebody to prepare fully.

  • Self Defense: Some basic and effective self defense techniques.
  • Techniques: Learn these dynamic techniques to defend yourself.
  • Self Defense for Women: Online station to learn some self defense moves.
  • Self Defense Dojo: A number of self defense techniques and moves.
  • NWMAF: Official site of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation.

Non-Physical Techniques

There are certain non-physical methods for fighting back. If the person is trying to touch you, you can say “You are touching me and I do not like it!” in a loud voice. Do not use “Please”. Look into the person’s face and alert people who are around. You can say something right at the time or do something to make the person feel that you are ready to face him. Generally, the attacker targets insecure people so he may retreat when he knows that you are ready to fight. You can even use a weapon to scare away the attacker.

Common Threats/Attacker Moves

Fingernail attacks are not only painful for the attacker but they can also be used for law enforcement. Many attackers have been convicted in the court of law after their DNA is found in the materials contained in the victims’ fingernails. If the attacker is trying to choke you, the arms can be used to hold the neck below the Adam’s apple to choke the attacker. You can strike with the elbows if you are attacked from behind. The strike should be aimed at the face, neck or ribs. If the attacker is bending down, you should try to run away as quickly as possible.

Resources for After an Attack for Victims of Sexual Assault, Rape, Harassment, Theft, and More

  • After Silence: A forum for victims of rape and sexual assault.
  • NCVC: The National Center for Victims of Crime provides support and resources for crime victims.
  • After Sexual Assault: A guide to help victims deal with life after the incident.
  • Surviving: A recovery guide for sexual assault survivors.
  • Robbery: Find out how to prevent robberies and what to do after a robbery.


  • NOWSA: The official site of the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness.
  • NAWHSL: Homepage of the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders.
  • RAINN: The biggest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.
  • NCDSV: Official site of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
  • MOCSA: Homepage of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.

Training & Self Defense Learning Resources

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