Each year in the United States, almost two million women are physically assaulted. And, this may be only a fraction of the violent crimes against women, as a majority of cases go unreported.

Here are some tips to help you or a special female in your life not become a helpless victim:

  • Be Wary of Two-Way Mirrors:  A two-way (or observation) mirror is a glass that on one side, provides a reflection, and on the other, functions as a window. Such mirrors are common in police stations and psychiatric institutions; however, some less obvious places where they can be found are dressing rooms and in the workplace. If you are concerned about a particular mirror, check the following—

    1) Look at how the mirror is installed. A normal mirror is hung against the wall while a two-way mirror is set into the wall. If the wall is behind the mirror, it is probably a normal mirror.

    2) Hold any kind of flashlight, even a small personal flashlight, to the mirror. The room on the other side will be illuminated if it is a two-way mirror.

    3) Cup your hands to make a dark tunnel. The light in the observation room will be brighter than the light on the side of the mirror where you are standing, and you should be able to see something beyond the glass.

  • Lock your car:  Do not just sit in your car after shopping, eating or working and make a list, do your checkbook, or shuffle through your bags. A predator could be watching you and bust into your vehicle. Consequently, always remember that whenever you get in or out of your car, lock it immediately.

  • Parking:  Do not park next to a van! If you return to your vehicle and there is a van parked next to it, enter your car from the passenger door. Experts say many victims are pulled into the attacker’s van while they are attempting to get into their car. Furthermore, always park next to or under a light, so you can see all around you. Look into your car—at the passenger floor and in the back seat. Be aware of who is sitting in cars on either side of yours. If there is a male in the seat nearest your car, it is wise to walk back and get a guard/policeman.

  • Parking Lots and Parking Garages:  Request that a security guard escort you to your car. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if the lot or garage is dark or deserted and your instincts are giving you the feeling something may not be quite right.  Security guards welcome the opportunity to help out.

  • Flyers on the Windshield:  As you approach your vehicle, if you see a flyer on your windshield, do not stop to pull it off. Wait until you have pulled away from the area before removing it.

  • One Car Length Distance at a Traffic Light:  Keep at least one full car length’s distance in front of you at traffic lights. This will allow police and emergency vehicles to be able to safely get around you in a tight spot, as well as give you maneuvering room. It also could prevent you from hitting the car in front of you should you get rear ended.

  • Gas Tank:  Make sure your gas tank is at least half full at all times. Unexpected detours can add miles to your trip.  You do not want to find yourself in a dark, remote area and not have enough gas in your vehicle to get back to familiar territory.

  • Take the Elevator:  If you are alone, take the elevator, not the stairs. A stairwell is a horrible place to be alone and a perfect crime spot. Make sure to stand in front of the elevator, not back in the corners, so you can be near the doors ready to get off. And, if for example, you get on the elevator on the 20th floor, and then someone from the 15th floor gets on, and you feel uncomfortable, get off when that person gets on. Don’t ride with him!

  • Stay on your cell phone:  It is a good idea to be on your cell phone when you are walking alone on the street or to your car. Be sure to let the person you are talking to know right away exactly where you are in case you are approached or attacked.

  • Have a plan:  Be prepared to act! Rehearse what you would do should you ever be in a violent situation, so you can react immediately. Remember this information:

    a) If the predator has a gun, but you are not under his control—run, run, run! Statistics show the predator could only hit a moving target 4 out of 100 times, and most likely it will not be a vital organ.

    b) Do not let your attacker take you to an abandoned area as your likelihood of serious injury increases tenfold. Hit the attacker where it counts. The eyes, knees, throat and groin are vulnerable and good places to gouge and kick.

    c) If the attacker demands your wallet, throw it away from the attacker and then run in the opposite direction.  The attacker usually wants your money, not you. 

    d) If the attacker gets you in a vehicle, throw the attacker off by offering your wallet, jumping out at a stoplight, or doing something to signal other people.

    e) If you end up in the truck of a car, kick out a tail light and put your hand or foot out the hole so the vehicle behind you can see and call for help.  Newer cars also have latches to pop open the trunk in case of emergencies.

Don’t be an easy target.  Always be aware of where you are and what’s gong on around you.  Keep your head up, swing your arms, and stand straight up.  Your body language could keep you from being a target.