We are all aware that on the evening of 3 March 2021, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive was walking home in South London when former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens arrested her under the pretence of enforcing coronavirus restrictions, using his warrant card to convince Everard of his legitimacy. He drove to a forest near Dover where he raped her, murdered her and disposed of her remains in a nearby pond. This crime evoked a global uproar in protest of violence against women.
In the light of this case and many other recent examples, whether you live in a city or a countryside village, irrespective of gender, it’s always a good idea to be educated on the extra steps you can take to keep yourself safe at any time of the day. Even though it’s horrifying that young people like us must be taught these things, the reality is that there are some terrible people in this world. According to West Yorkshire Police, last year within Leeds, for every 1,000 residents, there were 65 violent and sexual offences, a 4% increase from 2020. Learning simple tricks to help protect yourself won’t do any harm. Here’s my list of tips:
- Take your earphones out once you get off the bus so you can hear your surroundings properly.
- Wear your hair down as it is harder to grab.
- Sit on the lower deck of the bus as it is easier to exit and those who intend to behave in an unacceptable way, sometimes in groups, often sit on the top deck.
- Always walk on well-lit roads, preferably with CCTV.
- When waiting for friends, do your best to stand somewhere being recorded by CCTV.
- Avoid carrying large quantities of money. Try not to show how much money is in your wallet when purchasing items.
- If you do find yourself in a situation where you are abducted, drop a personal item that can be traced to you.
Useful sites and products
https://nightcapit.com/ : A scrunchie with a cover inside to put over your drink in bars with a straw hole to avoid being spiked. £8.11.
https://www.undercovercolors.com/ : SipChip, a small disk that detects if your drink has been spikes with one or two lines. £11.04
https://www.walksafe.io/ : Shows recent crime rates within your area so you can avoid hotspots on your walk home.
https://www.redpanicbutton.com/ : With the push of a button, you can send an SMS and email containing your GPS coordinates to your emergency contacts.
https://www.onescream.com/ : If you’re in danger and cannot reach your phone, a keyword or screaming automatically triggers the app to notify up to three contacts. The alarm can be disarmed within 20 seconds.
https://hollieguard.com/ : This app with automatically record audio and video and share them with your emergency contacts. It also works by sensing trips and falls by using a motion sensor.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photon.shake2safety&hl=en_GB&gl=US : By shaking the phone or pressing the power button 4 times, you can send text messages to emergency contacts including pictures and your location- It works on a locked screen and with no internet connection.
In 2022, everyone no matter age, gender, sexuality or religion should feel safe walking home at night. Unfortunately this is not the case and these precautions are still very much needed to keep us safe. We all know that any kind of assault, whether it happens to us or a friend, can affect us in so many ways for such a long time. I heard a metaphor once, that when something bad happens to you it’s like a box in a room-at first, the box is huge that nothing else fits. However, over time the box gets smaller and smaller, whereby you can place it in a corner and feel okay with it being there.
Support for mental health, assault, and sexual assault links: