Save the Next Girl and Share!
It may not be Spring yet, but Spring Fever is in the air! With it comes the wine walks, beer crawls, weekends filled with outdoor events with large crowds and more tourists. It is a fantastic time in Winnemucca!
But, as with anything- we should never forget safety. We get calls for assistance for sexual assault victims all the time, many involving the same scenario of the violence occurring in a public place. Let me make this clear: It is never the victims fault! As sad as it is, we must remain diligent and cautious because rapists look for opportunities to commit rape. As of the day of this writing, the end of February 2017, our organization has already received three calls for assistance from victims of sexual assault that occurred right here in Winnemucca. Think it doesn’t happen here? Think again.
The following 50 tips are from members of Help Save The Next Girl. Adults and college-aged students contributed to the list of tips. How do you keep yourself safe? How do you help save the next girl, or boy, or senior citizen, or child? Talk to your friends and ask them how they stay safe.
- Always use the buddy system when going out, especially at night.
- If you are walking alone and suddenly notice you are being followed, call the police.
- If it is safe to do so, make eye contact with the person that you feel is suspicious. Even say something to them. Now that you have seen their face and could identify them you lose appeal as a target.
- Learn to make mental notes about identifying features of a person, as if the police is going to need those details.
- When you are walking alone make sure you aren't looking down at your phone, texting or scrolling through social media. Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Do not have ear buds in when walking at night by yourself.
- Stand between the control panel and the door when in an elevator. That way if someone enters and you feel uneasy you can easily press a button to get off at the next available floor.
- Have keys in hand when walking to your car so you don't have to be fishing through your bag or coat to find them once you get there.
- Try not to sit in your car and mess around on your phone after you have parked at your destination.
- Lock your car doors while you pump gas so that no one can enter the car while you aren't looking.
- Always tell someone you trust where you are going. If it's to someone's house provide an address.
- Change your routine. Don't drive or walk the same routes every day.
- If you are getting pulled over by an unmarked car, you can dial 911 to verify that the person pulling you over is a police officer. If you are unsure, do not pull over until it is verified.
- Choose parking spaces that are well lit.
- Choose parking spaces that are not boxed in by vans or trucks.
- Crack, never roll down, your car window.
- If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. Never drive towards your house or destination. Drive to the police department.
- At a party, don't leave your drink unattended. And if someone offers to buy you a drink, watch the bartender make it.
- If you have to meet with someone you don't know well, meet at a public place instead of their house.
- Keep the doors of your home locked at all times, even when you are inside.
- If you have to walk your dog at night, attach a pepper spray key chain to the leash and stay on well lit roads.
- After getting into your car lock the doors right away.
- Don't post on social media where you are going. Wait until you have left to post it. For example don't say heading for a run on the local trail. Wait until after the run to post either the picture or status.
- Make your social media private and don't post your address, telephone number, or email on there.
- Take a self-defense course. Many universities and police departments offer them free.
- Invest in pepper spray or, if you can find it, pepper gel--it's better because the wind doesn't blow the spray towards you or away from your attacker.
- Put the pepper gel spray and a flat flashlight on your keychain.
- Put a strong whistle on your keychain.
- Always, always let someone know where you are at all times, when you should be expected to be home or arrive at your destination. Also tell them the route that you are taking if you know this ahead of time.
- Always keep your cell phone fully charged.
- Inspect your apartment window and door locks, and if they are faulty, insist that the apartment managers pay for their repair.
- Don't be home alone for any workman appointment.
- Don't study late in isolated places on campus alone.
- Inspect your windows' blinds. Use them.
- Make strong understandings with your roommates. No one leaves the apartment open, and extra keys aren't available to just anyone.
- If you hear hate talk, or violent talk, or objectifying talk, even if it is couched in humor, call it to everyone's attention publicly, and report it assertively.
- Be careful in public places who overhears your plans.
- If you see a young woman in trouble, if she is hurt, impaired, or seems vulnerable to you, alert her friends or the police.
- Have conversations with restaurant, night club, concert security, or bar owners when you are there. Ask them how they protect their clients. Ask them how they Help Save the Next Girl..
- Relationship violence doesn't have to be between strangers of a couple. It can be friend on friend.
- Know what relationship red flags are, and look for them.
Many thanks to Help Save the Next Girl for these tips!