These 50 ways to protect yourself from sexual assault could save your life

Guys, I read something mind-blowing this morning and couldn’t wait to write about it. It’s a step away from what I usually post, but I was so incredibly compelled by this simple post my friend shared on Facebook, I couldn’t help myself.

Jackson Katz. He’s a social researcher (and author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help) who sat in front of an audience of men and women and legit, laid the smack-down.

He started by drawing male and female symbols on a chalkboard, begging of his audience a single question: What do you do (daily) to prevent yourself from being sexually assaulted?  His overarching goal here wasn’t to learn more about what people do on the day to day, but moreover, provide an answer to another question many men are asking these days:  Why are a woman so pissed off?

I know you’re on the edge of your seat, so I’ll save you the suspense – most men do nothing. I repeat. They do nothing.Because they don’t have to.  But, this isn’t what baffled me most about the experiment.


While I knew the woman in the group would have lots to bring to the table on the subject, I was most drawn to how their answers made me feel.  As the women rose their hands and shared the ways they protect themselves every day,  I thought, “Hey, I do that…and that, and that”.

The simple Facebook post took me from observer to participant and suddenly, I found myself kinda pissed.  How annoying is it that because I’m a woman,  I need to add 5o,ooo safety precautions to the 50,000 other things I have to do each day. Wash my hair, brush my teeth…use my car keys as a weapon.

The list is long ladies and it’s wrong on every level.  But, it is what it is and every single one of us need to be on top of it.  Instead of sitting here fuming, I took my angry feelings and put them to good use (apparently I’m a list making maniac when I got a little fire lit beneath me).


I broke the list down by subtopic, but many of these simple ways to be aware and safe are interchangeable.  Read it. Memorize it. Live it.

And, if you have something to add, drop it in the comments below and I’ll be sure to keep this list growing.

We may not have a choice when it comes to why we have to protect ourselves from sexual assault.  But, we do have a choice in how we protect ourselves.


  • Have your keys out of your purse and in hand before you hit the parking lot
  • Hold your keys between your fingers as a potential weapon (put one key in between your forefinger and middle finger so that its sticking out between those two fingers).
  • Check your backseat and trunk (if you can see it with a window) before getting in your car.
  • Frequently check your surroundings while putting your kiddo in the car seat.
  • If needed, hit the panic button on your key fob
  • Quickly close and lock your door when you get in your car before checking anything else
  • Don’t answer your phone until you’re safely (locked) in your car
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Avoid parking garages if you can. If you can’t, park close to high traffic areas
  • Take different routes home from work if you can
  • Always lock your doors while driving to avoid someone jumping into your vehicle while at a stop
  • Never set your home address as “home” in your GPS – label it something only you would know.


  • Go out in groups
  • First dates should always be in a public place
  • Don’t drink so much you can’t function
  • Don’t set your drink down and come back to it
  • Watch your drink being poured
  • Tell your friends where you’re going, who you’re meeting and when you expect to be home
  • Don’t enter an elevator with a single man or a group of men (especially in a parking garage or low traffic area)
  • If someone is following you in a store (like Target), tell a manager and ask them to walk to your car with you (I did this once when my daughter was two and it turned out there was a sex trafficking ring in my area in the very store I was being followed in. A man was talking directly to my two year old and following us around the store. I felt weird asking the manager to walk us out but I trusted my instincts and will never regret that decision)
  • Find a bathroom in a well trafficked area (don’t use the bathroom at the end of a long hallway, at a rest stop or port-a-potty if it’s not well trafficked).


  • Exercise in high traffic public places / parks
  • Avoid wooded areas even in the daylight
  • Avoid jogging by yourself in the dark
  • Know the area your exercising or running in
  • Run with your phone and turn the tracking device on
  • Be unpredictable (change up your route)
  • Avoid headphones or wear only one earbud


  • If you lose or misplace your house keys, change the locks
  • When carrying things in / out of your home be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t open the door for unannounced “utility” workers or other unannounced visitors. Call your utility company and verify first.
  • Lock your windows and doors (always)
  • Don’t announce your home alone on social media (even if most of your social followers are your friends)
  • Don’t open messages or engage with strangers on social media
  • Make sure your phone number isn’t listed and your address is not anywhere on social media
  • Keep your social media accounts private


  • Don’t be the only woman on a subway or bus
  • Avoid UBER and cabs if you can. If you can’t, buddy up.
  • If you have to go solo, text a friend the persons badge number / name / identity and let them know when you are expected to your destination.


  • Take a self-defense class
  • Be aware of your surroundings, always (use your eyes and ears).
  • Walk with purpose
  • Carry mace or pepper spray
  • Carry a cell phone
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged
  • Enable remote wipe for your smart phone
  • Don’t leave your purse unattended (it has your home address in it)
  • Tell at least one person what you’re doing, when you’ll be back, etc.
  • If you feel like you’re being followed while walking, stop and do something else (keeping them in sight) to let them pass you
    Avoid drunk men or men who appear to be impaired

Above all, be safe and aware…always.

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*DISCLAIMER:  This post is a combination of my personal insights, opinions and thoughts on various topics and products and may contain affiliate or referral links.  I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, which helps me continue on this fabulous journey of blogging!  Full disclaimers avail. here

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  • One thing I have to take issue with is that you seem to be indicating that rape is only committed by strangers or acquaintances. For a large percentage of victims, their attackers are people they know well.

    • Such a good point Gabrielle. I was trying to cover as much as I could for general safety and awareness when out and about – so, yes…strangers. But, I definitely see your point and find value in adding more on safety with people we know well! If you have any bullet points you think are worth adding, let me know! Otherwise, I will most certainly keep researching and add more value to this post 🙂

      • I think one thing I would add, and this applies to new acquaintances as well, is to trust your instincts. Whether it’s an old friend, your doctor, your teacher… if they begin to make you uncomfortable, if you just get twinges of doubt or alarm, listen to yourself and don’t push them aside. If you are alone with them, try to politely exit. If it’s someone you’re required to see again, try to figure a way out of it or try not to see them alone at all. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you’ve known for years; don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. Maybe you’re wrong and overreacting… but what if you aren’t? And since the only way to know for sure is when it’s too late? Err on the side of paranoia.