When I go on TikTok, I see videos like tarot card reading, storytimes, and book reviews. Anything you can think of, it’s on my FYP. However, one topic that’s been recurring on my FYP is pretty terrifying — human trafficking.
I’m sure when you think of human trafficking, you’re probably thinking of a man in a dark alley grabbing you while you’re walking to your car. I know that’s what I used to think of. However, these trafficking videos are hitting a little too close to home.
It’s not men in dark alleys trying to grab you, it’s women out in the daylight in busy areas trying to lure you into their cars to “go to parties” or to “attend their church meetings.” In most cases, these women who are doing the trafficking approach us because as women, we’re told to “trust women.” They’re abusing this information that we’ve been told our entire lives by taking advantage of women.
As women, we are constantly told to walk in pairs, to park closer to stores, and to have our keys ready in hand in case someone gets too close. While this is important, there are various other ways to keep ourselves safe. Here are a few to keep in mind.
1. Be aware of your surroundings
It seems pointless to say, but I’ll be the first to admit sometimes I’m on my phone a little too much in stores and I’ve nearly walked into a display. If you’re demonstrating that you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around you, you’re making yourself a perfect target. Put your phone down and keep your eyes up.
2. Carry a form of self defense
It can be something as simple as a metal water bottle or as complex as a taser. Or if you feel comfortable, carry a handgun (please make sure you have the proper paperwork and license for this!). Whatever you feel the most comfortable with, have it on you. And if you’re in a dangerous situation, use it.
3. Give someone your location
When you’re going out — whether for a night out or just for a Target run — make sure someone knows your location, and how long you should be out. If this person doesn’t hear from you within a certain timeframe, have them call you to make sure you’re OK.
4. When it doubt, get physical
When it comes to self defense, nothing is too much. If someone puts their hands on you, do what you can to get away from them. Bite, hit, kick, pull hair.
5. Lock your doors
It’s something we should do instinctively, but sometimes I still forget. As soon as you get into your car, lock your doors. And don’t do anything else before that. All it takes is one second for someone to open that door and do something unthinkable.
6. Don’t be shy to speak to security
If you’re ever in a store and someone is bothering you, or it seems as if they’re following you, go to security. Explain the situation and ask them to walk you to your car. It might be nothing, but it’s better to look paranoid than to potentially be seriously hurt.
7. Don’t be afraid to make a scene
Too often I’ve heard stories of people getting attacked in public, and others decide to ignore them claiming “I didn’t know they needed help.” When you’re in a dangerous situation, scream phrases such as “This person is trying to hurt me!” or “I need help, I don’t know this person!” at the top of your lungs. And if you can, run from the person. It will bring attention to you, and that’s not what the attacker wants.
8. Stay in groups of two
I know this isn’t always the case, but when you can, try to be with more than one person when you’re out. If you’re going to the bathroom, bring a friend. Stick together as much as you can.
9. Have someone wait with you
If you’re heading out of class or work and you’re waiting on a ride, have someone (preferably male) wait with you. When I was in school, my ride would run a little late after my class got out. I asked a guy friend to stay with me until my ride showed up and he did without an issue.
Sure, it was only for five minutes sometimes, but there were other times I’d wait 15 minutes. Having this person wait with me eased any anxiety that I had over the situation. And now I always make sure to do the same for anyone who is waiting.
Although it’s 2022, this world seems to become scarier and scarier each day. Do what you can to keep yourself and others safe. If you see it happening, don’t just stand there and let it happen. Either step in or find someone who can step in. As women, we need to be there for each other.
Featured image via Pexels