Safeguard yourself: tips for women

• Avoid shortcuts that are not well traveled or well lit.
• Know what reputable stores are open in your neighborhood late at night. If you suspect that you are being followed, stay away from lonely quiet blocks and head for the store you know to be open.
• When walking to your car or on your way home, keep your keys in your hand until you are safely inside for added protection.
• If someone drops you off at home by car, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.
• If a motorist bothers you while you are walking, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Do this as often as necessary and the driver should get discouraged.

• Keep windows rolled up, except for a small ventilation space, and keep your doors locked.
• If someone attempts to force you off the road, don’t panic. Blow your horn constantly to attract attention. If you are forced over, as soon as you stop put your car in reverse and back away. Keep blowing the horn and moving the car as much as possible.
• If you suspect that someone is following you, make a few turns down active streets, if possible. If the car you suspect is following you makes the same turns as you then head for the nearest police station, fire house or open store. Don’t try to make it to your own quiet residential area.
• Try to park your car in a well-lit area. This is not only good from the standpoint of discouraging a personal attack on you but also for reducing the chance of auto theft. Look around before you get out of your car.
• Before getting into your car, look inside first to make sure no one is hiding in the back seat. When leaving your car, make sure it is locked.

• Have your key ready before you get to the front door.
• Make sure your entrance area is well-lit.
• List only your last name and first initial on your mailbox.
• Don’t let anyone in your home unless you know them.
• If a stranger wants to use your phone for any kind of call, no matter if it’s business or an emergency, make them stay outside while you make the call for them. Any problems or in doubt? Call the police.
• If you arrive home and find your door open, do not go inside. Call the police from a pay phone or neighbor’s house and ask them to meet you.
• If you live in an apartment, don’t be polite and hold the lobby door open for a stranger who has been waiting.
• Don’t get on the elevator with a stranger if your own good judgment warns you against it. If you need an excuse to avoid embarrassment, say something like; “Oh, I forgot my mail.”

Do not …
• carry a bag that makes you a target. A bag that dangles from the shoulder can be easily yanked off your shoulder by someone coming up from behind.
• carry your bag in such a manner that you can’t let it go if you have to. Many women have been injured because their own bags acted as handcuffs as a purse-snatcher yanked it away.

Do …
• be aware of your surroundings and carry your bag close to your body, tucked in the bend of your elbow.
• minimize the amount of money and credit cards that you carry with you on a daily basis. Divide your money between pockets and bags.
If you are the victim of a purse snatcher, do not fight to hold onto your bag, especially if there is a weapon involved.

• Report the crime immediately to police by calling 480-2050 or 112.
• Do not wash or douche
• Have a medical exam and internal gynecological exam as soon as possible
• Inform doctor of exact acts committed upon you and have him note any medical evidence of them.
• Semen smears must be taken by the doctor.
• Doctor should note any bruises or injuries (bleeding, lacerations, etc.) external or internal.
• Have the doctor test for venereal diseases (and pregnancy later if relevant).
• Inform the police of all details of attack, however intimate, and of anything unusual you may have noted about the attacker. Remember, what he said and how he said it may lead to his arrest.
• Show police any external bruises or injuries however minor, resulting from the attack. Also show them to a friend or relative who might be available as a corroborative witness at the trial.
• Give the undergarments to the police (for semen analysis).
• Give any torn or stained clothing to the police.
• When calm, make note of events of attack, unusual details, etc.

(Courtesy of the 86th Security Forces Squadron)