Women are vulnerable to physical and sexual attacks at any time of the day, especially when they are alone. A woman is an easy target for predators, whether walking in the streets at night, returning to her car at a parking lot after shopping, or withdrawing cash at an ATM.
However—as hard as it may seem to swallow—the number of rape and physical abuse incidents occur mostly at home. That’s because most incidents are perpetrated by someone the woman knows. While it usually happens to women suffering domestic abuse, it can also happen to women living alone and independently.
Every year, the number of rapes in the United States steadily increases. In 2015 there were 90,000 reported rape cases in the U.S., which means there are about 10 to 12 incidents every hour of every day.
The increase in such incidents is alarming and frightening indeed. Ask a lot of women around, and you will realize that they are fed up with having to walk home alone in the evening, tightly clutching their handbags close to their chests or car keys between their fingers.
As the number of sexual assaults continues to rise, more women are taking steps to protect themselves. Many of them are signing up for martial arts classes or taking up boxing.
Some others even get a handgun as a security measure against violent crime. Still, not everyone may decide that a gun is the right choice. Some alternatives effectively disable your assailant without potentially killing or seriously injuring yourself (and possibly other bystanders if they get to the scene). These non-lethal self-defense weapons have been proven to be effective and comfortable for most women to carry.
What to Look for in Self-Defense Products?
The way to protect yourself at all times is to weaponize the items in your purse or pocket. Concealing non-lethal self-defense weapons is easier, and some are hard to detect.
When looking at self-defense products, here are the questions to think about:
1. Is it effective?
Your goal is to survive and get rid of the attacker. You want to buy something that really works. Some self-defense weapons are deadly, while others can act as deterrents. If you live in a particularly dangerous neighborhood, perhaps a lethal weapon will be appropriate. But if you want to prevent attacks, a non-lethal option is more viable.
2. Is it easy to carry around?
You want your self-defense products to be easy to carry everywhere you go. It’s best to buy a weapon that can fit in your pocket or clutch or even something you can put on your keychain.
3. Is it easy to use?
It won’t do any good if your self-defense product is hard to use. It’s common for people to freeze up in a moment when faced with an attacker, so you need a weapon that is so handy and intuitive that using it will be very easy.
4. Is it legal?
Some self-defense products, like stun guns, tasers, and pepper sprays, are not legal to use in all states. Check your state’s laws on a particular self-defense item because they might be banned in your state or any state you plan to visit.
Self-Defense Products for Women
The self-defense products on this list are lethal, non-lethal, and preventative. No matter your choice, you need to spend time getting familiar with your weapon to prepare yourself in an emergency.
1. Tactical Knife or Dagger
Some of the best self-defense weapons for women are disguised as innocuous-looking items such as a comb, a hairbrush, or a pen. This might explain why women feel confident carrying them in their purses or handbag.
If you are attacked, you can use your hair brush or comb as a weapon. Your attacker won’t realize what it is until it’s too late. Stabbing your attacker at close range is better than shooting him from a distance because you have more control in targeting those “weak spots” of your attacker. Choose a knife that measures at least three inches – long enough to protect yourself and inflict damage.
2. Stun Gun
Stun guns are low-cost self-defense weapons that can deliver an electric shock to an attacker and cause them to lose balance, muscle control, and orientation. Some stun gun designs can be hidden in your purse as a seemingly everyday item, but they deliver millions of volts. A lipstick stun gun can put a man down with 3 million volts; others look like cell phones and can deliver even more volts. If you carry a stun gun, ensure it has a flashlight on the end so you can blind potential muggers up close.
A stun gun is a handy piece of equipment that can be very helpful when you need protection from an attacker. The biggest downside to using a stun gun is that you must be up close and personal with the attacker. The electrical shock also lasts as long as you keep contact, but it’s worth it in times of danger.
Tasers are another popular self-defense weapon recommended for women. They are even better than stun guns because they can shut down an entire nervous system, effectively incapacitating your assailant. They are easy to carry and can be concealed as a cute-looking key chain, lipstick, a fake cellphone, or a portable flashlight (which is also effective in distracting your attacker).
4. Pepper Spray or Mace
Pepper spray is an effective and inexpensive means of self-defense. It comes in spray or foam, and a short burst can cause extreme eye irritation and temporary blindness. Pepper spray is quick, easy to use and carry, inexpensive, and, most of all, very effective. Many women like to carry pepper sprays because they can be camouflaged as everyday items such as lipstick or mascara.
5. Personal Safety Alarm
You sometimes need other people to help you when you are under attack. But for anyone to come to your rescue, you must first tell them that you are in trouble. Advanced technology makes personal safety alarms now considered effective self-defense devices. These personal safety alarms mostly come in cute key chains or something that attaches to your lanyard. This is ideal, especially for college students walking around the campus.
Personal safety alarms can emit a sound as loud as 130 decibels, which can be enough to deter attackers or alert other people or law enforcement officers. However, do not rely on the personal safety alarm as a weapon of defense. Instead, use it as a secondary weapon and consider arming yourself with something that will provide additional protection.
6. Self-Defense Keychain
A self-defense keychain may be stylish, harmless, and even cute, but they’re really just a less-obvious version of an old brass knuckle. You can keep this keychain as decoration, but you can slip your fingers through the eyes of the animal and let the sharp ends protrude from your fist. Some keychains come in the shape of animals, but they all have a similar purpose.
7. Slap Hat
A slap hat may look like a normal baseball cap, but it is a surprisingly effective self-defense weapon. The dome of the hat comes with a material with the same density as lead so that you can smack an attacker with this cap, and it will hurt like a baseball bat. However, it would be best if you had a firm grip on the hat because it can easily get knocked out of your hand.
When you’re faced with a situation that requires self-defense, there are times when it’s not possible to avoid the confrontation. But there are also times when you can de-escalate the situation and walk away safely—all it takes is knowing what tools are available to you.
While many think of non-lethal self-defense as involving physical force, several non-physical options are available to women who want to stay safe. After reading this article, you should better understand how to defend yourself against attackers. If you don’t already own a non-lethal self-defense tool, I hope this article helps guide your decision-making process!