personal safety tool - alarm keychain

9 Essential Personal Safety Tools Every Womxn Should Have

9 Essential Personal Safety Tools Every Womxn Should Have

In distressing situations, being prepared and having personal safety tools in place can make a crucial difference. It’s unfortunate that in emergencies, we often need to rely on ourselves as first responders, mainly because of the time it takes for help to arrive. The average police reaction time for crimes in progress is 17 minutes and 24 seconds, 21 minutes and 13 seconds for crimes that have already taken place without immediate threat, and 19 minutes and 22 seconds for less severe crimes.


During those critical moments, having a mental toolkit of options and personal safety tools you can revert to can go a long way. Whether it’s having a safety tip in mind, activating a personal alarm keychain, or knowing how to assert yourself verbally to de-escalate a threatening situation can make a significant difference. In this article, we will explore different safety tools and discuss their pros and cons, providing you with options for more peace of mind.


Personal Alarm Keychain

personal safety tool - alarm keychain

A personal alarm keychain is a must-have safety tool for everyone. These compact devices emit a 140-decibel loud sound when activated, scaring off potential attackers and attracting help.


Pros:

  • Attention-grabbing: Personal alarms emit a loud sound that can attract attention and scare off potential attackers.
  • Easy accessibility: Personal alarms are compact and can be carried on a keychain or worn as a wearable device, ensuring quick access in times of need.

Cons:

  • Dependency on others: Personal alarms rely on others nearby to hear the sound and offer assistance.
  • False alarms: Accidental activation of the alarm may cause unnecessary panic or inconvenience.

Whistle

A whistle can be a lifesaver in emergency situations. It is a small and portable device that can draw immediate attention to your location.


Pros:

  • Simplicity and effectiveness: Whistles are straightforward to use and can draw immediate attention to your location.
  • Portable and reliable: Whistles are small, lightweight, and don’t require batteries or maintenance, making them a dependable safety tool.

Cons:

  • Limited range: Whistle sounds may not carry over long distances, restricting their effectiveness in certain situations.
  • Public perception: Whistles, especially when easily accessible to kids, can sometimes be used as toys or for playful purposes. This may lead to the sound of a whistle being perceived as non-emergency related, potentially diminishing its effectiveness as an emergency signal.

Portable Door Lock

personal safety tool - portable doorlock

When traveling or staying in unfamiliar places, a portable door lock can offer extra security and peace of mind. These compact devices are easy to use and can prevent unauthorized entry, providing additional protection. 


Pros:

  • Added security: Portable door locks provide an additional layer of security, particularly when staying in unfamiliar places or traveling.
  • Ease of use: These locks are generally easy to install and offer a simple and effective way to reinforce the security of doors.

Cons:

  • Limited compatibility: Portable door locks may not be compatible with all types of doors, limiting their use in certain situations.

Kubaton

Kubatons are discreet personal safety tools that can be used for self-defense. They are often designed to resemble harmless keychains or accessories.

Pros:

  • Discreetness: Kubatons are small and inconspicuous, often resembling a keychain or a harmless object. This makes them easy to carry and access without drawing unnecessary attention.
  • Versatility: Kubatons can be used as a striking tool for self-defense, leveraging the element of surprise and providing a means to incapacitate an attacker. They can also be used for pressure point manipulation or joint locks.

Cons:

  • Limited range: Kubatons are close-range self-defense tools, that require physical proximity to the attacker for effective use. They are most effective in close-quarters encounters.
  • Skill requirement: To use a Kubaton effectively, proper training and familiarity with self-defense techniques are essential.

Fearless Kitty Cat

personal safety tool - fearless kitty cat (s)

The Fearless Kitty Cat is similar to a Kubaton, featuring cat ears that bear a resemblance to harmless keychains or accessories, yet serve as effective striking tools for self-defense.


Pros
:

  • Discreetness: Cat self-defense keychain knuckle ears are designed to resemble a harmless keychain or accessory, making them inconspicuous and easy to carry without drawing unwanted attention.
  • Versatility: These keychains typically feature pointed ears that can be used as striking points, allowing for self-defense techniques such as striking or applying pressure to sensitive areas of an attacker’s body.

Cons:

  • Legal considerations: The legality of carrying and using self-defense keychains with pointed features may vary depending on local laws and regulations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the legalities in your specific jurisdiction.
  • Skill requirement: Proper training and practice are necessary to effectively use self-defense keychain knuckle ears. 

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a popular and effective self-defense tool that can incapacitate an attacker temporarily.


Pros:

  • Effectiveness: Pepper spray can temporarily incapacitate an attacker, allowing you to escape or seek help.
  • Portability: Pepper sprays are typically small and easy to carry, making them convenient for everyday use.

Cons:

  • Wind direction: Pepper spray effectiveness can be diminished if used in windy conditions, potentially affecting the user as well.
  • Legal considerations: It is important to understand and comply with local regulations regarding the possession and use of pepper spray.

Stun Gun or Taser

Stun guns or tasers are powerful self-defense devices that can immobilize an attacker temporarily.


Pros:

  • Immediate incapacitation: Stun guns or tasers can quickly immobilize an attacker, providing an opportunity to escape.
  • Effective deterrent: The sight and sound of a stun gun or taser can often deter potential attackers.

Cons:

  • Legal regulations: Stun guns or tasers may be restricted or illegal in certain jurisdictions, requiring careful adherence to local laws.
  • Training requirement: Proper training is essential to ensure safe and effective usage of stun guns or tasers.

Safety App

SOS Safety Apps

Personal safety apps on smartphones offer additional layers of protection through features like emergency contacts, location tracking, and panic buttons.


Pros:

  • Quick access to emergency features: Safety apps on smartphones provide easy access to emergency contacts, location tracking, and panic buttons.
  • Wide range of functionalities: Safety apps often offer additional features like automated alerts, real-time monitoring, and emergency notifications.

Cons:

  • Dependency on technology: Safety apps rely on smartphone functionality and network availability, which may be limited in certain situations.
  • Battery life: Extensive use of safety apps can drain the smartphone battery, potentially affecting the availability of other essential functions.

Self-Defense Training

Woman in a fitness studio with boxing gloves, practicing self-defence

While personal safety products are invaluable, acquiring self-defense skills is equally important. By learning basic self-defense skills, you can enhance your confidence and personal security. Explore our blog post highlighting a recent self-defense workshop we conducted for TN Ceramics.


Pros:

  • Empowerment: Self-defense training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves effectively, increasing confidence and personal security.
  • Preparedness: Training provides a proactive approach to personal safety, enabling individuals to assess and respond to potential threats more effectively.

Cons:

  • Time commitment: Self-defense training requires time and dedication to acquire and maintain the necessary skills.
  • Continued practice: Skills learned in self-defense training may diminish over time without regular practice and reinforcement.

Conclusion

We explored various personal safety tools and provided insights into the pros and cons of each approach. It is essential to consider the effectiveness, accessibility, and legal considerations associated with different safety tools and techniques.

We encourage you to prioritize your personal safety by equipping yourself with the appropriate tools and knowledge. Whether it’s a personal alarm, creating your personal self-defense keychain, or using a safety app, each option has its advantages and limitations. Choose what aligns best with your lifestyle, needs, and local regulations.

We value your input and would love to hear from you. What safety measures do you have in place? Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below.

Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

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6 Effective Self-Defence Strategies to Target Vulnerable Areas of an Attacker

6 Effective Self-Defence Strategies to Target Vulnerable Areas of an Attacker

In today’s world, it’s crucial to be prepared for unexpected situations. The thought of having to defend yourself can be extremely overwhelming, yet it’s crucial to be prepared for unexpected situations, especially with the disheartening gender-based violence and public street harassment statistics in South Africa. In this article, we will explore essential vulnerable areas to target when faced with an attacker, emphasizing the importance of self-defence and your right to safety. We strongly encourage cultivating the right mindset and embracing a continuous learning approach to create your personal safety toolkit. This mindset not only empowers you but also enables you to navigate through each day with confidence and empowerment.


A gentle reminder:
Always trust your intuition. When you sense something is off, practical tools like our self-defence alarm keychains provide a safer, easy-to-use option to deter an attacker and activate your surroundings. Physical self-defence should always be your last option. But how can you react if a situation escalates? 


Whether you find yourself in a scenario where an attacker invades your personal space or you’re faced with the need to physically defend yourself, understanding these vulnerable areas is crucial. By learning how to strategically target these areas, you enhance your chances of escaping unharmed and regaining control of the situation.

Key Targets for Immediate Self-Defence Response

1. The Eyes

The eyes are highly sensitive and crucial for vision, making them an effective prime target. Impairing an attacker’s vision can greatly hinder their ability to continue the attack because hurt eyes tear up quite fast and naturally want to close. While the eyes are usually exposed and within reach, taller attackers might present some difficulties. Poking an attacker’s eyes with your fingers or using our Fearless Kitty Cat can severely impair vision. It’s important to be cautious because striking the eyes can result in permanent damage.

2. The Throat

Given its accessibility, sensitivity, and minimal protection, directing your strike toward this area can prove to be an effective self-defence technique, impairing the attacker’s ability to breathe normally, even if only for a short time. However, it’s important to acknowledge that hitting this target accurately can be quite challenging, as the attacker may instinctively defend themselves by using their hands, arms, or other body movements. In such cases, focusing your strike on the front of the throat would be the best approach, allowing you to maximize the impact of your defensive action.

3. The Groin

The groin is a highly sensitive and vulnerable area. Targeting the groin with a swift and strong upward kick can disable the attacker, creating an opportunity for you to safely escape. Watch the video below to see how you can strike an attacker in the groin area.

4. The Knees

Striking the knees forcefully can permanently disable an attacker. Just like targeting the groin, utilizing your legs for self-defence creates distance between you and the perpetrator, giving you time to reassess the situation and determine your next course of action. The knees, being crucial parts of the legs, are readily accessible for effective strikes within close range. Using a forward kicking motion, like kicking down a door, can be a powerful and strategic approach, giving you time to escape the situation. 

5. The Nose

A palm strike, hammer punch, or fist to the nose can cause intense pain, disorientation, and blurred vision. When using a palm strike, you have a larger surface area to target the nose and potentially impact the eyes or scratch the face with a downward motion. Watch the video below to learn more about these different striking techniques. If you still need to take a self-defence class, we recommend using the palm strike or hammer punch to minimize the risk of injuring yourself.

6. The Ears

The ears are sensitive organs responsible for hearing and balance. A powerful palm strike, sideward hammer punch or a grab-and-pull motion directed toward the ear can disrupt an attacker’s balance and cause temporary pain. It’s crucial to act quickly and apply significant force since the attacker has both hands free and may attempt to grab you. An effective way to distract an attacker is by utilizing our 140-decibel alarm keychain. This powerful device emits an ear-piercing sound for up to 60 minutes and can be heard up to 200 meters away.

Why it is important to know the Vulnerable Areas of an Attacker in Self-Defence

Remember that besides the commonly discussed areas, such as the eyes, throat, and groin, there are additional targets like the toes, fingers, face, and shins. In desperate situations, utilizing unconventional tools like teeth or nails can temporarily inflict pain, creating opportunities to reassess, escape, or seek help. The goal of this article is to empower you, regardless of whether or not you have self-defence training, to recognize that you can still effectively defend yourself. By learning to temporarily distract or disorient an attacker, you can gain the confidence to protect yourself in challenging situations. And of course, it’s important to use self-defence responsibly and within the boundaries of the law. 


Which vulnerable area do you find most effective for targeting in a self-defence situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the conversation!

Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

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Flight, Freeze, Fight, Fawn: Understanding Your Natural Response to Danger in Self-Defense Situations

Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

Flight, Freeze, Fight, Fawn: Understanding Your Natural Response to Danger in Self-Defense Situations

As womxn and young girls in South Africa, we often find ourselves feeling vulnerable or threatened in self-defence situations. It’s natural to experience these emotions when faced with potential danger. However, with the right knowledge and tools, we can empower ourselves and increase our chances of staying safe. In this blog post, we will delve into the flight, freeze, fight, and fawn responses, and explore how understanding them and trusting our intuition are crucial in self-defense. Additionally, we’ll provide practical tips that are relatable and compassionate, helping you navigate and respond effectively in self-defense situations.

Understanding the Flight, Freeze, Fight, Fawn Response

The flight, freeze, fight, fawn response is a natural reaction to danger or threat. Here’s a breakdown of each response:

Flight Response

The flight response is when our instinct tells us to run away from danger. This response can be useful in situations where escape is possible. Imagine finding yourself walking alone at night and suddenly noticing a group of strangers following closely behind you. Your instinctive response might be to quickly change your route, increase your pace, or seek a well-lit and populated area where you feel safer. If you find yourself in a situation where the flight response is appropriate, it’s essential to listen to your instincts in self-defense and get away from the danger as quickly as possible.

Freeze Response

The freeze response is when our body instinctively “freezes” in the face of danger. For instance, picture yourself walking in a quiet park when you suddenly come across a suspicious-looking person blocking your path. In that moment, you might feel your body tense up, and you find yourself rooted to the spot, hoping to go unnoticed or buying time to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. Such moments can be overwhelming – it is extremely important to recognize when it is time to move and take action to get to safety.

Fight Response

The fight response is when our instinct tells us to fight back against the danger. Consider a scenario where you encounter someone attempting to physically harm you. In this situation, your instinctive response might be to fight back fiercely, using any means necessary to protect yourself, such as striking vulnerable areas or creating a distraction to escape.

Fawn Response

The fawn response is a relatively new addition to the flight, freeze, fight, or flight response and is not as commonly known. It is a response to trauma, where we try to appease or please the person or situation that is causing us harm. However, the fawn response can leave us vulnerable to further harm and abuse. It is crucial to recognize this response if it occurs and seek professional help or guidance from a licensed therapist to ensure our well-being and safety.

Knowing the different responses can help you understand how you may react in a self-defense situation. However, it’s important to note that not all responses are appropriate for every situation. It’s crucial to assess the level of danger and respond accordingly.

Trusting Your Intuition in Self-Defense

Trusting your intuition is another important aspect of self-defense. Your intuition can provide warning signs that may indicate danger. Here are some signs that your intuition may be warning you:

  1. Feeling uneasy or uncomfortable in a situation.
  2. Noticing subtle changes in a person’s behaviour, such as increased aggression or tension.
  3. Sensing that someone is watching or following you.
  4. Feeling a sudden sense of danger or fear.
  5. Having a “bad feeling” about a person or situation.

Trusting your intuition requires practice and awareness. Staying present at the moment, listening to your body, and practising mindfulness can all help you trust your instincts in a self-defense situation.

Combining Flight, Freeze, Fight, Fawn with Trusting Your Intuition

Combining the knowledge of the flight, freeze, fight, fawn response with trusting your intuition can help you respond effectively in a self-defense situation. Here are some tips for using your intuition and response strategies in self-defense:

  1. Assess the situation: Determine the level of danger and potential threats. Click here to read more about situational alertness and how to scan your environment. 
  2. Trust your intuition: Pay attention to warning signs and take action to protect yourself.
  3. Choose the response strategy that suits the situation best: Flight may be suitable in certain scenarios, while fight might be necessary in others. This aligns with the previous point – if you sense something is off, prioritize your safety by seeking a place of safety as quickly as possible. You can enhance your safety measures by using our self-defense alarm keychain, which acts as an additional deterrent to potential attackers and immediately alerts those around you. For more information on our self-defense alarm keychain, click here.
  4. Maintaining a sense of calm and focus is crucial. It’s understandable that panic can hinder our ability to respond effectively in a self-defense situation. Remember, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Simply do your best in the given circumstances, and know that you are taking steps to protect yourself.
  5. It’s important to prioritize your well-being and seek the support you need. If you have experienced trauma or find yourself in need of additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Seeking help is a courageous step towards healing and empowerment. Remember, it’s okay to ask for advice and guidance when navigating difficult situations.

5 Practical Ways to Train and Trust Your Intuition

Your intuition is a powerful tool that can help you make better decisions and navigate life’s challenges. Here are some ways you can train your intuition:

  1. Personal Safety Workbook: Using our workbook and answering the questions can help you strengthen your awareness and overall view of safety and who you are. Click here for more information
  2. Tune into your body: Pay close attention to physical signs, such as tightness in your chest, butterflies in your stomach, or a racing heart. All these feelings can be a sign that your intuition is trying to warn you.  
  3. Keep a journal: Write your feelings and your thoughts down throughout the day, especially when you have a strong gut feeling about something. Over time, you might be able to recognize patterns, especially when your intuition is trying to tell you something.
  4. Practice mindfulness: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other mindful techniques can help you tune out distractions and focus on your inner voice. This can help you become more in tune with yourself and your intuition, helping you better understand signals.
  5. Take small risks: Start by trusting your intuition in small ways, such as taking a different route home, trying a new activity, or setting new boundaries. Through this, you may be more willing to trust your intuition in bigger decisions, as you build confidence.

In Conclusion

Understanding the flight, freeze, fight, fawn response, and trusting your intuition are vital aspects of self-defense. Remember to stay calm, assess each situation, and trust your instincts. If you’re looking for a practical exercise to deepen your understanding of safety and empower yourself, we highly recommend utilizing our Personal Safety Workbook. It can help you gain valuable insights into what safety means to you and enhance your overall awareness.

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What is an Upstander vs bystander?

Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

What is an Upstander vs bystander?

In social situations, there are often people who stand by and watch while others are being treated unjustly or experiencing harm. These individuals are known as bystanders. Bystander behavior is a well-documented phenomenon known as the bystander effect. This refers to the tendency for individuals to be less likely to help in a situation where others are present, assuming that someone else will intervene instead. On the other hand, there are those who take action to intervene and defend the person being targeted, known as upstanders. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial in creating a safer and more just society.

Understanding the Power of Being an Upstander

Upstanders have the power to make a positive impact and create change in their communities. It is important to note that being an upstander is not always easy and may come with personal risks, but it is a crucial step in creating a safer and more just society. Bystanders have the power to be upstanders. Additionally, it is important to remember that it is not only physical harassment that needs to be addressed but also cyberbullying and discrimination. Being an upstander can mean standing up against discrimination of all forms, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. You can perform an upstander self-assessment by relying on your instincts, considering your values, and asking yourself the questions “Is this appropriate?” or “If I were in that situation, would I accept such conduct?” If the response is negative, take action!

How to Become an Upstander, proactively?

 

Have you ever witnessed a situation where someone was being harassed or bullied, but you didn’t know how to respond? Here are 4 ways you can become an upstander and provide assistance proactively.

  1. One way to intervene is by distracting the harasser while engaging with the target. Firstly, always ask for the target’s consent before intervening. They may have their own strategies or preferences for handling the situation. You can ask the target if they’re okay, need help, or know the harasser. Another approach is to pretend you know the target and start a casual conversation with them. You can ask questions such as; “Hey, how are you, I missed class today and wanted to ask if you can share your notes with me”, or, “Hey, I didn’t see you during our lunch break today, keen to catch up for coffee now”? Be creative! These actions can provide the target with an opportunity to leave the situation safely. Remember, even a small effort can make a big difference in someone’s life.
  2. Only if you feel comfortable and are safe doing this, you could confront the harasser directly and give them feedback. The following phrases are examples and can be effective in communicating that certain behavior is unacceptable:
    • Stop!
    • Help is on the way!
    • That is not okay!
    • This is not acceptable.
    • You can clearly see she is uncomfortable, why would you say/do something like that?
    • She said No, please respect her boundaries!

    Being brave enough to stand up to harassment is a powerful way to create a safer environment.

  3. While implementing tip two, you can take out your phone discreetly and record the conversation or take a video so you can have evidence. This can be helpful if the situation escalates, but it’s important to remember to prioritize your safety at all times.
  4. It’s crucial to check the target’s well-being and safety after the incident. Ask if they need any help or support and if they want to report the incident. Showing empathy and support can make all the difference for them to process the situation.


How to Become an Upstander, discreetly?

 

As an active bystander, you have the power to intervene and help without putting yourself in danger. Let’s take a look at 4 ways to become an upstander discreetly, and still make a difference.

  1. If you’re hesitant to intervene directly, you can still make a difference by asking others to help you. Call out to other bystanders and encourage them to assist you in stopping the harassment. You could say something like “this is not right, let’s intervene together” or “this situation is unacceptable, we have to do something”. You can delegate tasks, such as calling the police, alerting supervisors, recording the incident with your phone (and not being a bystander by watching what is happening through your phone), and de-escalating the situation by getting others involved. This simple yet effective action plan can create a ripple effect of positive change among those witnessing the situation.
  2. In case you’re unsure and want to act quickly, use a personal self-defence alarm keychain. Pulling the pin on will activate a 140-decibel ear-piercing sound and radiate up to 200 meters, which can attract attention to the situation, cause a temporary moment of distraction, and help you evaluate the situation while creating a safe distance from the harasser. This can potentially lead to utilizing the first tip, by encouraging others to help stop the harassment.
  3. In a public place, seek out a security guard or a store employee for assistance. They are trained to handle situations like these and can help protect you and the target from harm.
  4. Even if you don’t want to put yourself in the center of that situation, you can still check on the target’s well-being and safety after the incident. Ask if they need any help or support and if they want to report the incident. This extended support as an upstander goes a long way.


Prioritizing Your Mental Health as an Upstander: Why It’s Important

 

As an upstander, it is crucial to prioritize your mental health. Witnessing uncomfortable or potentially traumatic situations can take a toll on your emotional well-being. While it is important to help those in need, it’s equally important to take care of yourself. Remember, you don’t have to handle the weight of the situation alone. Reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support. Taking care of your mental health as an upstander not only benefits you but also helps you to better support those around you. So, take a deep breath and make sure to focus on your own well-being too!


How RightToBe’s Bystander Intervention Training Helps Create Safer Communities

Right To Be offers bystander intervention training to help people develop the skills to safely and effectively intervene in situations of harm. The training teaches individuals how to recognize harmful situations, choose appropriate interventions, and create a safer environment for everyone. I personally have participated in their training and can definitely recommend it. And no worries, it’s free and definitely well-invested time. Follow this link for more information.


Making A Difference Through Active Engagement by Becoming an Upstander

 

In conclusion, being a bystander can perpetuate the cycle of harm and injustice, while being an upstander can make a positive impact and create change. By educating yourself, speaking out, being an ally, and calling for help when needed, you can become an upstander and make a difference in your community. It’s important to be proactive and to take action when you see someone being treated unjustly or experiencing harm. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

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Public Street Harassment in South Africa and its impact

Understanding Public Street Harassment & What Can Be Done to Combat it in South Africa

Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

Understanding Public Street Harassment & What Can Be Done to Combat it in South Africa

Imagine a world free of public street harassment – one where you can walk anywhere and feel safe. ⁣⁣It seems too hard to imagine. Simple things such as running errands can be mundane and seemingly effortless tasks, but for some people, it can be a source of immense anxiety due to street harassment. Public street harassment is a major concern facing women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people as well as children in South Africa which has been ignored for far too long. Unfortunately, Public Street Harassment has been normalized in our day-to-day life and plays a huge part in not only Gender Based Violence but Rape Culture in South Africa.

 

What is Public Street Harassment?

 

Public Street Harassment and harassment, in general, can come in the form of physical and verbal abuse. It often correlates with sexual intent and violates a person’s right to safety. According to the U.N. and other Global Organizations, Public Street Harassment “is considered a Human Rights issue” as this restricts a person’s power and right to enter public spaces safely and comfortably. >

It is important to know the different types of harassment, how to recognize them, and how to report them if they violate your rights. According to Rainn.org harassment includes the following behaviors:

  • Comments, requests, and demands
  • Commenting on physical appearances, such as someone’s body or the clothing they’re wearing
  • Continuing to talk to someone after they have asked to be left alone
  • Flashing, following, stalking, staring, whistling, groping, or telling someone to smile
  • Intentionally invading personal space or blocking the way
  • Persistent requests for someone’s name, number, or other information
  • Public masturbation or touching
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or any comments insulting or demeaning an aspect of someone’s identity
  • Showing pornographic images without someone’s consent
  • Taking a photo of someone without their consent
  • Up-skirting, which is taking a photo up a skirt or dress without that person’s permission

                      The impact of Public Street Harassment on South African women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children

                      Women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children in South Africa regularly face “state-facilitated” and “socially-practiced” violence and discrimination from a historical standpoint compared to their male counterparts. This feeds off the deep underlying misogyny and patriarchy we face in this country.

                      Street harassment is a common issue that harms both those who experience it and communities as a whole. It can make people feel unsafe, intimidated, and powerless in public spaces. Street harassment can lead to physical and psychological trauma, as well as discourage people from participating in public activities. This form of harassment also has long-term effects on the community by creating an environment of fear and insecurity which can inhibit economic growth, social inclusion, and civic engagement. We must take steps to address this problem to create safe and welcoming public spaces for everyone.

                      How can you respond to street harassment?

                      • No one should have to feel unsafe in their community. Unfortunately, street harassment is a reality for far too many of us. Street harassment is not just an inconvenience or a joke – it can be extremely traumatic and dangerous. Here are a few general safety tips, but the best advice is to speak up, trust your intuition, and know that your voice matters!
                      • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert. We wrote a blog post on situational awareness to help you understand how best to navigate your day.
                      • Trust your intuition at all times! If you sense someone is invading your personal space, scan your environment for other people, shops, or security guards. Navigate towards a more crowded area and ask someone who looks trustworthy for help, or stand with them until you feel it is safe to proceed. A “trustworthy” person could be a mom with children, for example.
                      • If you can and time allows, contact a family member or friend, inform them about the situation and ask them to support you or pick you up.
                      • Unexpected situations can quickly escalate and leave you feeling vulnerable. We advise you to carry some type of self-defence tool, such as an alarm keychain, which you can use to set off an ear-piercing alarm that will scare off a harasser and activate your surroundings. Click here and check out the range of products to help you stay secure in a threatening situation.
                      • You shouldn’t feel scared or ashamed to speak out when you experience street harassment. It can be difficult to build up the courage to speak up, but you don’t have to do it alone. Report it to the police or talk to a trusted person, such as a friend or professional counselor, about how you want to handle the situation.
                      • You must make sure your safety is always a priority!

                      Organizations fighting against Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in South Africa

                      There are many campaigns and initiatives aimed at Public Street Harassment and Gender-Based Violence. The Frida Hartley Shelter, Tears Foundation, POWA, Thuthuzela Care Centres, and Childline South Africa are examples of organizations fighting against Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in South Africa by providing a support network for survivors of rape, sexual abuse, and harassment. We encourage you to support such organizations – big or small – your contribution goes a long way.

                       

                      Here is a list of important numbers that you should ideally have on speed dial:

                       
                      • Emergency number: 10111
                      • SAPS Crime Stop: 086 00 10111
                      • Ambulance services:
                      • National hotline: 10177
                      • ER24: 084124
                      • Netcare: 082911
                      • Fire department: 10178
                      • Human trafficking helpline: 08000 737 283 / 082 455 3664
                      • Heal (helpline for elderly people): 0800 003 081

                      We would like to acknowledge that seeking change and a better future takes unity and advocacy. We as a community could over time decrease the likelihood of Gender Based Violence and Public Street Harassment occurring in our country! It is our mission at Secanity to raise awareness and provide practical solutions to empower women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children in South Africa. We hope this blog post was helpful! If you have any tips or thoughts you want to share, please drop a comment below.

                       

                      And always remember: Be Woke. Be Smart. Be Heard. 

                       

                      References: 

                      • https://pinkpangea.com/2014/06/eye-opening-encounter-with-sexism-in-south-africa/
                      • Street harassment part of SA’s rape culture, say experts on why men feel ‘entitled’ to women’s bodies | Drum (news24.com)
                      • South Africa: patriarchy, paper, and reclaiming feminism | openDemocracy
                      • South Africa: The Safe Ride Campaign | Stop Street Harassment
                      • https://brooklynmovementcenter.org/hollaback-finding-effective-solutions-street-harassment/
                      • https://stopstreetharassment.org/toolkits/campaigning/
                      • https://tears.co.za/about-us/
                      • https://www.thedailyvox.co.za/8-organisations-fighting-gender-based-violence-shaazia-ebrahim

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                      Situational Awareness Tips & Tricks for solo travelers

                      8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

                      Inge Holzträger

                      Inge Holzträger

                      About the Author: Inge Holzträger is a GBV activist who is passionate about making small changes where she can. She believes that something positive can come out of a horrible situation if you look for it.

                      8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

                      "Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness." - James Thurber

                      So let’s talk about situational awareness. It can be as simple as being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where you are, where you are supposed to be, and if anyone or anything around you is a threat to you in terms of your health and safety. We have all heard the phrase “be safe” when heading out into public spaces, most likely from a friend or family member. Knowing what it means versus actually incorporating certain habits into your daily activities are two different approaches – so how do we use what we know to determine whether a situation is safe or not?

                      Situational awareness is individual and different to each person and is, therefore, only as accurate as our perception or reading of the situation. How we read our environment is influenced by many factors such as the type of information we have been given, our own experience as well as current distractions diverting our attention.

                      So, why is situational awareness important? In a potentially threatening situation, you are the first responder, so the most critical benefit of practising these habits is that you win over time. It is essential to scan your surroundings, anticipate the behaviour of others, and predict what could happen so that your brain can work out a plan to keep you safe. Therefore, it is not just crucial for your personal security but is also a fundamental building block for collective security.

                      Now, you might be thinking that is great information but what can I do to improve my situational awareness? Make a conscious decision to implement these 8 simple tips every day to enhance your situational awareness

                      1. Be mindfulPractice being “in the moment”. When you are aware of your surroundings, your senses are all engaged. Therefore, you can hear, smell and see everything to react a lot quicker. If you feel like your mind is very busy and you are having a hard time focusing, a quick way to be more present is to take 3 deep breaths.
                      2. Identify exits when entering any public space – A public space can be a shopping mall, restaurant, school, gym, etc. When entering such locations, it’s best to allocate the exits. For example, if you can’t see a door, scan for windows. Anything can be an exit. This could prove useful in an emergency.
                      3. Watch people without staring – Be present by observing people around you, and how they react and express themselves. This is a great way to understand what’s going on around you.
                      4. Notice nonverbal cues – Nonverbal communication can tell you a lot about how people are feeling. Does their body language line up with what they’re saying? Most people have a giveaway that tells you they’re perhaps lying, nervous or angry.
                      5. Limit distractions – While distractions can’t always be eliminated, you can also reduce your distractions. Not being present makes you more vulnerable. If you enjoy listening to music while walking, why not try using one earphone and reducing the sound? When walking alone try not to be glued to your phone so you can scan your environment. Most “trips” are short and temporary, you can always engage in these activities when you are in a safe space.
                      6. Trust your gut feeling – Listen to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone or a specific place, rather remove yourself from that situation by listening to your intuition, even if there’s no visible danger. This way you train your body to trust your instinct, which in return boosts your level of confidence to always want to put your safety first.
                      7. Be strategic – Ask yourself regularly if you feel safe in the space that you are in. This will give you an indication of how alert and present you need to be to make proactive decisions for your safety.
                      8. Carry a self-defence toolin the event that someone threatens your personal safety and invades your personal space, it is best to have some type of reinforcing self-defence tool with you, such as The Woke Self-Defense Alarm Keychain, which can distract and scare off a potential attacker. 
                              Remember: It is important to know that in a situation where you are feeling unsafe, it is not your fault. You have the right to feel safe and to take precautionary measures. See situational awareness as a tool to help you become more conscious of what is happening around you. It’s a great way to stay alert, practice staying calm, and train your brain to develop a plan of action in case of an emergency. When you train your ability to be situationally aware, you reduce the risk of freezing up. This enables you to focus on your safety, embrace your power, and feel more comfortable in your ability to protect yourself.

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                              Personal Safety Tips for Women and Children in South Africa

                              Personal Safety 101: An Introduction!

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

                              Personal Safety 101: An Introduction!

                              “Some things aren’t normal; they have been normalized. There’s a difference!”

                              Personal safety is a complex and sensitive topic, yet one of the most important life skills we ALL need, but as a society, we are honestly still at the beginning. Personal safety entails recognizing and avoiding potentially dangerous situations or people in your environment. So, what does that really mean? 

                               

                              At Secanity we believe personal safety consists of 4 pillars: –

                               

                              • General resources (knowing your rights, education on personal safety as well as knowing which organizations are out there). 
                              • The right mindset (consisting of e.g., self-love, personal development, intuition, boundaries, etc.).
                              • Verbal self-defence (how to articulate your boundaries and de-escalate potentially threatening situations). 
                              • Physical self-defence (using what you have and being able to protect yourself).  

                              Unfortunately, personal safety is mostly perceived reactively, only when something has happened do we tend to engage with tools and information for more personal protection. 


                              At Secanity we are advocates for “Preparedness is everything” as a mindset and that does not mean you, therefore, live a fearful and paranoid life, it means you are cultivating daily habits that contribute to more confidence, assertiveness, empowerment, as well as sharpening your situational awareness – enabling you to be more conscious and aware of potentially threatening situations. Owning and embracing your power as an individual. The fear of someone invading your personal space is scary, and the fact is, written words and reality are two different things. We just want to encourage you to try not to let the fear of what might happen to keep you from living your life. The thing is when it comes to an emergency, we usually are the first responders present at that moment, and by the time the police or help comes, minutes pass by. So, the question then becomes what options do you have in that short period to de-escalate the situation, protect yourself and escape safely?


                              Let’s take a quick detour into one of the subtopics of our pillars and get one thought pattern out the way before we proceed. 


                              When we think about self-defence or personal safety, many limiting beliefs come to mind: this would never happen to me, I’m careful, I don’t need that, self-defence is not my thing, self-defence is too expensive, women who learn self-defence lose their femininity, it takes too long to learn, someone in a position of trust must be a good person, I am not at risk from them. I am too old, unfit, young, short, etc. to fight back. I used to have the limiting belief that my brothers will magically appear and protect me. If we are out and about together, sure, it could work. In reality, though, I spend most of my time alone. So, when I started engaging in all things personal safety, I realized that we are stronger than we think and that we only have this one life (Sorry for being so dramatic), but the thought of being able to confidently have options to protect myself, gave me comfort and peace of mind. I am fully aware that nothing in life has a guarantee, but through this journey of getting a deeper insight into this topic, I now have a better understanding of myself and my boundaries – I am willing and ready, at all times, to make my safety a priority every single day.


                              Let’s pause for a moment and go within – scan if you can think of any limiting beliefs you may have around personal safety or self-defence? If you like, write them down, analyze them and see if you are comfortable thinking about how you would like to feel, and how you would like to change that narrative. Limiting beliefs is not an easy topic, but we will get back to that at a later stage in another blog post. For now, let’s try to write a fresh chapter on fearlessness? You have everything you need within you and that’s perfectly enough. Let’s normalize the narrative on personal safety and embody that we are powerful enough to protect ourselves. You hold great power.

                               

                              Detour complete. Let’s continue… 


                              I think I speak for many when I say this topic per se is a frustrating one – on top of all the other stressors we face, we now have to also increasingly worry about our own safety. I think this quote from an unknown author visualizes this problem quite well:A man in a room full of women is ecstatic. A woman in a room full of men is terrified.” – Unknown


                              Millions of womxn and children live with a constant sense of dread and fear about their personal safety, which has the effect of draining them of their autonomy. On the other hand, women’s safety is a matter of context, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for protecting a woman. Our mission is to provide different perspectives, information, and tools so that you can put together your own personal safety strategy that works for you.  

                              Honing in on this and defining your safety strategy is not easy. We have a Personal Safety Strategy Template with a set of questions to help get the process started. Type in your email below to get your free pdf today. You will notice that when writing down your answers you will be able to better understand what safety means to you. 

                              Personal Safety 101 Workbook



                              Let us know in the comment section below what your definition of personal safety is


                              Thanks for being here and of course, stay tuned for more blog posts as we take a deeper dive into our 4 pillars packed with practical tips & tricks for more peace of mind. 


                              Sending you love, light, and peace.


                              PS: Your safety is non-negotiable. It is indeed all that matters. Give it all it takes to be safe, so you can focus on yourself. 

                               

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                              Self-Defence Workshop South Africa

                              Personal Safety Workshop with Terra Nova Ceramics

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

                              Personal Safety Workshop with Terra Nova Ceramics

                              On the 9th of April, we had the privilege of hosting a Women Empowerment Workshop for Terra Nova Ceramics, a leading manufacturer & supplier of consumables for fire assay laboratories in the gold and platinum industries. Based in Meyerton, South Africa, they provide cost-effective consumable solutions to mining companies and fire assay laboratories throughout Africa and internationally.

                              For this year’s International Women’s Day Terra Nova Ceramics wanted to host a Personal Safety Workshop for their female staff members with the following objectives in mind:

                              • Empowerment
                              • Team building
                              • Creating a safety culture that amplifies their company values
                              • Ensuring that their female staff members have tools and information that contribute to their general personal safety, confidence and well-being.

                              Our programme focuses on why we all need a personal safety strategy and educates participants on practical tools, including techniques, on how to deal with public street harassment, the importance of prevention, various de-escalation techniques, how to become an up-stander without endangering yourself, and practical self-defence techniques that can easily be implemented regardless of your fitness level and age.

                              Together with iDefend Krav Maga and the Growing up without a Father Foundation, we were able to ensure that all participants left our workshop feeling empowered, confident and enabled.

                              Our workshop consisted of the following three pillars:

                              • Personal Safety Talk from Palesa. To find out more about Secanity, please click here.
                              • Practical Self-defence training from Anthony. To find out more about iDefend Krav Maga, please click here.
                              • A motivational talk on personal development from Dr Charley Pietersen. To find out more about the Growing Up Without A Father Foundation, please click here.

                              At the end of the workshop, we had a survey and some of the staff members responded with the following feedback:

                              • “I would like Secanity to keep on with their workshops because a lot of women need to know that loving and protecting yourself is quite important.
                              • “Being made aware of myself & my worth. The fact that I can use my body as a weapon“.
                              • “Being more aware of my surroundings, not be afraid to take a stand when something feels unsafe or uncomfortable.
                              • “I learned how to love myself, how to protect myself, and that I need to be myself and not anybody else.

                              We also took the time to interview all the organisations that made this event a success and received the following feedback:

                              “Terra Nova Ceramics was able to take hands with Secanity, iDefend and Growing up without a Father Foundation, to provide a platform to our ladies in the workplace.  The feedback we received from our ladies was positive and inspiring.  We as a company feel we can make a difference in empowering our ladies to be safe and knowing their self-worth. Such a great event for any organization to host”. –Terra Nova Ceramics Management.

                              “iDefend Krav Maga was honoured to be part of the workshop for the ladies of Terra Nova Ceramics. We enjoyed helping the ladies to empower themselves through self-defence techniques, situational awareness and hearing their biggest fears. Thank you to all involved for the great morning”. – Anthony from iDefend Krav Maga 

                              “I applaud the company Terra Nova Ceramics for inviting us to speak to their female staff members. I believe that we have made a great impact on the one side, and on the other hand, it was great to see some of the ladies talking about how they will take action and work towards putting themselves and their aspirations first”.Dr Charley Pietersen from the Growing Up Without A Father Foundation

                              We want to take this moment to thank everyone who made this day unforgettable.

                              PS: Do you want to host such an event for your company? Click here for more information and join us on our mission as we empower one woman and child at a time, thereby creating a ripple effect of enablement within communities, public spaces and organisations.

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