This BE SAFE message is directed mostly to women going home alone or going anywhere on their own.
Please remember that about safety tips it does not mean that if only you did this you would be safe. Whenever someone walking alone is attacked, so many people feel that it is their fault, they shouldn’t be there on the own.
Oh come on society, we just cannot exist wrapped up in cotton wool and never ever do anything by ourselves or go out anywhere. Quite often walking home alone is unavoidable like from the train, or home alone from school. Being attacked is not the victims fault but it's often written that way.
Having said that the best things we know are these:
Society and families set rules that are meant to be helpful. We are led to believe that we should not go out late or by yourself and that we should always tell people where you’re going etc., but these can be impractical. For example telling people your travel plan might only help them find you if you don’t return, but if you send them a message on social media it might advertise your position to bad people that want to know where you are. If you do tell someone where you are going add an estimated time when you expect to return home. Parents and your friends do worry about you so do not forget to ring them if you have a change of plan or if your times change. A simple message does mean a lot to them.
Here are some tips from our Jane Team members
Trust your instincts:
If you have a feeling that you are in an unsafe situation or that the person near you is untrustworthy, go with your instinct and be wary. Move away from them. Your instinct is your brain remembering previous situations that it may have kept when watching a movie, or what happened to someone else, or just seems to be unsafe.
Don’t be afraid of not being polite:
Sometimes you imagine that the person talking to you will be harmless if you politely let him talk to you, but, at the same time, you also feel the person may get aggressive if you are anything but interested. There are other times when you might feel threatened but are worried that you are imagining it and it is all in your head and that you do not want appear to be rude. In any situations where you are not comfortable trust your instincts. Do not be appear to be afraid of the person. Do not answer them and just look away, or move away yourself. You could say, "I do not know you and I do not want to talk to you" or something that suits the occasion. Better to appear rude than to get yourself in a situation that you are uncomfortable with. One of our team says that if she is in that situation she looks for another person nearby and walks over to them saying something like "Hi, how are you? I didn't see you" and chats for a few seconds and then moves to another place. Might confuse them but gets her out of danger. (The same method is used to avoid being followed: below)
What if you think someone is following you?
First of all, make sure that someone is actually following you. Normally if you have seen a person you can be sure it is not a person that is professionally trained to follow someone because such people are good and never seen. You may see one but he disappears into a shop and a woman takes over. The tactics used to make sure are: don’t look back but slow down, or change direction or go into a shop just anything different. If you are being followed the person will also slow down etc. If they were not following you they will just walk past, not even interested in you.
If it is in a public place, move towards where there is more people, find someone who seems trustworthy e.g. families and say something in a loud voice, like “Hi, how wonderful to bump into you” Then appear to be talking to another member of the family and then quietly tell them that a person has been following you. “Do you mind if I just stay awhile of walk with you until I am safe?” Another method is to go into a coffee shop and order a coffee. Appear relaxed and prepared to be there a long time. Talk on your phone or read a magazine etc. Keep one eye on the suspect. If you are followed in then it’s probably not a coincidence, but a least you are safe. Talk to the manager or the waitperson.
If you are not in a public place this is more difficult. Call the police or a close friend and advise that you are worried because a person has been following you. Describe the person and your location. If you have a smart phone put it on face to face and should the person confront you at his time try and transmit their photo.
A comment came in from a small charter boat captain who was worried about a group hired his boat for a private cruise but asked him to take them to their preferred destination. Sure! He said whipping out his smart phone taking their picture and posting on social media. Welcome aboard. The group leader asked why did you take our photo to which he said. Company policy for insurance purpose. I've sent it to them so you guys are now recorded so don't worry.
Where are you?
If you are on your way home alone, you do know where you are and you know where you can get to a SAFE PLACE. However these days’ many people, often do wander around looking at their phones and do not know exactly where they are. It is so important to know where you are at all times.
If you when reading this have an idea you would like to share, please comment below
For example one of our Team Jane after reading the draft of this post said “I try to never appear lost and always give the impression that I am in a hurry so as to give no one an opportunity to speak to me in the street.”
NOTE: Fine print: I am Jane only provides you with information for you to make your own decisions