I doubt anyone will argue with me if I say the year 2020 has been one of the most trying in recent history.
To top it off, there’s a huge uptick in women losing their lives by sick monsters on the prowl for opportunities to strike.
Trinidad and Tobago is quite backward in firstly its attitude towards women’s safety, where victim blaming and shaming is omniprevalent.
Then there are our prehistoric laws which punish women if they try to protect themselves using modern self-defence items such as pepper spray and personal stun guns.
All the arguments which say pepper spray, stun guns and the like will be more harmful than useful are absurd in my opinion.
All these arguments do is promote helplessness. If you’re going to be killed, you might as well go down fighting.
And if you’re in a position where you have to fight to try to escape, you will want to be armed with something that might help. It’s better than having nothing at all.
There is no Batman, no Superman and no Wonder Woman in real life. If you’re attacked, chances are you are on your own and no one is going to come to your rescue.
I join with all those who are screaming for the laws to be changed to allow women to protect themselves. We should be allowed to legally use both lethal and non-lethal devices, with the proviso that we receive the appropriate permits, training and/or certification to use the lethal options.
But in the meantime, I’m just going to put it out there that some security experts have suggested the use of items mentioned below which allow us to arm ourselves legally; unfortunately, it may not be the most effective.
- Walking with a sharpened pencil or a pen in your hand or within easy reach. Sadly, to use this, the attacker would have to already be very close to you. The pen or pencil can be used in a jabbing or slashing motion. Some advocate the use of keys between your fingers (as close as possible to your knuckles, with the sharp portion part facing outwards, for a wolverine-like look). It’s an option, but keys are very short. The aim is basically get something pointy you can use for self-defence.
- There a self-defence personal alarm available for purchase, perhaps not in this country, but it is widely available on Amazon, EBay and the like. It is a personal safety alarm or siren, usually in the form of a keychain. It’s a small device that when pressed emits a loud shrill alarm. The loudest is around 120 db. Personally, I do not find them loud enough to be effective. The concept behind them is the noise attracts unwanted nearby attention which causes your attacker to run away.
- Keeping a very loud whistle on you. There are whistles available (again probably not locally) which are designed for personal safety purposes. Some claim to be waterproof, unbreakable and that they can be heard a mile away. When in fear, the whistle is blown to attract attention and try to cause the attacker to leave. In some places, they are popular among joggers.
- Arm yourself with self-defence techniques. Many techniques are available online for free, and there are persons locally that offer training courses. Usually, you are taught the most vulnerable areas of the human body e.g. eyes, throat, groin, knees etc. and fairly easy methods to escape attack or holds by hitting these vulnerable areas. (Many ladies may already know of the kick to the groin technique!)
No one knows if they will be able to react if confronted with a situation where they are being to be attacked. Some of us may simply freeze up. We pray we never have to assess a situation to determine if it’s one of life or death. If laws were passed allowing women to protect themselves, perhaps we may see a sharp drop in attacks. Until then, do your research and look at the pros and cons of the above before deciding whether it’s for you. Be safe Trinidad and Tobago!
Copyright © 2020 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator.
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