5.7 min readBy Published On: August 5th, 2013Categories: Features1 Comment on Safety Tips

written by Heather Foley

What happened in Southie recently was a tragedy.  It’s sad, it’s scary, it’s a rude awakening that violence can happen anywhere, even in a tight-knit community such as ours.  We may not know all the details yet, but we do know hat two women were assaulted and one was killed in a very short amount of time in three different areas of Southie, and that it scared the beejesus out of all of us.  We may live in a pretty safe part of the city, but we’re not immune to violent crime.  I don’t have any easy answers for stopping it, probably because there are no easy answers, but I do think our politicians pushing for warrant sweeps, BHA evictions, and “sober” house crackdowns is a good start.  In the meantime, we can make an effort to focus on our own personal safety.  I know I can be guilty of breaking a few safety rules (like walking in the morning with my ear buds in), and events like the ones that recently took place in our collective backyard are a reminder that I need to pay more attention.  I’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular safety tips, please take a minute to read and follow them, especially my fellow ladies:

Be aware.  How many times have you walked back from the grocery store on autopilot?  I know I’ve gotten to my front door and thought “huh, I don’t even remember crossing the street once”.  Well no more.  Now we pay attention to where we’re going, and not just for our own sake, but for everyone around us.  I’m out every day between 6 and 6:30AM, and I can honestly say that previously I wouldn’t have noticed if a car on fire drove past me.  What if someone around me needs help?  We need to be aware enough to notice what’s going on around us.  Walk with your head up, shoulders back, put your phone in your bag, and walk like you know where you’re going.  Be 100% present in where you are and what you’re doing.

Trust your instincts.  God gave us instincts for a reason, so use them.  Believing in God not your thing?  Fine, then believe that thousands of years of evolution have honed and refined your instincts.  While I was looking at safety tips online, something that kept coming up again and again was that women who survived being attacked often said that they felt something wasn’t right, but didn’t want to offend anyone so they didn’t listen to their gut.  Well pardon my French but F*CK THAT SH!T.  Ladies if you ever get a sense that something isn’t right, act on it.  If a guy gives you the creeps it’s not you being a judgmental B, it’s your instincts trying to tell you something, so for the love of all that is holy, listen to them!

Buddy up.  I know you’ve been told this since you were a kid, but how many of us really use the buddy system regularly?  And I’m not just talking about leaving da club at 2AM.  A scary fact I read was that more rapes happen between 5:30 and 8AM than any other time of day or night.  So if you like going for a run before work make sure you go with a friend, or five.

Use your street smarts.  Please allow me to sound like your mother for a minute, but please use your street smarts.  Shred your mail, vary your routine, don’t put your drink down, don’t announce where you live or if you live alone, stick to well-lit busy streets, cross at the light, don’t go home with a stranger or bring a stranger home with you (yeah, I know that one is zero fun and none of you will listen, but I still had to say it), basically use some common sense.  As a nana at heart, I’m often amazed at the behavior of all people of all ages who have no problem announcing their address at a crowded bar or going to an after party with a total stranger, come on guys, let’s lock it up.

Don’t look like an easy victim.  While I was researching online I read a lot of facts about what attackers look for in a victim and what’s a deterrent.  The number one thing that deters an attacker is if they think you would be able to pick them out of a lineup, so if someone is creeping you out experts advise looking them good in the face and asking them a question, now you know what they look like and you could recognize their voice.  I would also advise ducking into a store or other more populated public space fast.  Other attacker turn offs are free hands (so put the phone away), purposeful gait, and yelling/being aggressive if someone comes into your personal space.

Never leave the primary location.  If God forbid you are ever attacked, don’t ever leave the primary location.  It doesn’t matter if the attacker says they will let you go if you cooperate or if he will go after your family if you don’t do what you’re told, they are lying.  One statistic I read – you are ten times more likely to be killed if you get into a car with an attacker.  Yell fire (people are more likely to respond to someone yelling “fire” than yelling “help”), try to run, throw your purse/keys one way and run the other, get into the middle of the street, do whatever you have to to cause a scene and/or spook your attacker, crawl under a car if you have to.  Even if your attacker has a gun, run.  Odds are he’ll only hit a moving target every four out of one hundred shots, which is much better odds than getting into a car with him.  Basically whatever he’s going to do you make him do it right there or leave.  And worse case scenario and you are assaulted right then and there you stand a much better chance of someone finding you and surviving.

I’m honestly not trying to be a fear monger or add to any hysteria.  I love South Boston, and I want all of you to be as safe as possible.  Please try and remember these tips when you’re out and about, and if you think I forgot any important safety tips please share in the comments.  Stay safe and watch out for each other!

Photo by Deborah McCarthy

One Comment

  1. Cheryl O'Brien August 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Heather very good article.  You are not a fear monger nor are you adding to hysteria. I wish these new people had more street smarts, but they did not grow up in the same environment we did. So we will have to look out for them as well as each other as you have stated. Thank You for your article and your tips.~TC!

    P S~ Nice Photo Deborah


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