In the past few months, personal safety has rapidly come to the forefront of people’s thoughts, especially concerning women. Although it would be ideal to live in a world where it wouldn’t be necessary, there are a few strategies that can help you to defend yourself against an attack, which can simply be drawn from your handbag.
But before we take a look at some ways you can protect yourself, let’s see what the statistics have to say about this growing epidemic of violence against women.
According to a report by the BBC earlier this year, in the past decade there were 2,075 female victims of killings in England and Wales alone. The report goes on to state that around 57% of these women were killed by someone they knew.
This tallies with data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which states that around one in three women worldwide have been subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Globally, 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.
Due to this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) took the decision to survey people about their feelings of personal safety when walking alone, for the first time in history. This survey found that people were more worried about walking alone in the dark, especially women, and that two out of three women aged 16 to 34 have experienced some form of harassment in the past year.
Although these statistics are worrying, thankfully violence against women can be prevented. Some ways that you can help keep yourself safe include investing in domestic security in Essex and London, appearing confident, staying in well-lit areas, trying not to advertise your valuables, and staying alert. You can also consider keeping some safety gadgets in your handbag.
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most important handbag safety gadgets you should explore.
1. Panic button
A panic button can have an inbuilt GPS, so that if you are ever in trouble, it will know exactly where you are. Panic buttons typically work in conjunction with an app, where you can programme in emergency contacts. When you press the button, your chosen recipients will receive an instant message with your exact location. Panic buttons can also be bought disguised as other accessories, such as a necklace or bracelet, so as to not draw attention to themselves.
2. Personal alarm
A personal alarm, which might also be referred to as a ‘rape alarm’, is particularly useful for keeping clipped to your handbag, or even if you are heading out for a run. A button can be pressed, or a tab pulled, emitting a loud, high frequency noise, similar to the piercing sounds of an emergency vehicle siren.
3. Smartphone SOS feature
Both Apple and Android phones have in-built safety features.
If you are an Android user, head to your settings and select ‘Advanced features’. In this menu, you will find ‘Send SOS messages’. After entering this option, you will be able to choose emergency contacts to receive a message, and select whether you want to include automated pictures and audio recordings. To activate this feature, press the power button three times. Please note that steps may differ slightly depending on your OS version.
As for if you have an iPhone, you can add emergency contacts in the ‘Health app’. To activate emergency SOS, press and hold the side button and one Volume button until a slider appears. Drag the Emergency SOS slider, and this will automatically call the emergency services. After this, your emergency contacts will be notified of your exact location.
4. Location app
There are quite a few downloadable apps that are available for your smartphone to help you feel safe. For example, the free WalkSafe app allows you to send your location to emergency contacts, allowing them to track you as you make your journey. It also visualises crime reports so that you can plan your route around potential threats. You can add to these reports yourself by notifying the app of groups, drunks, burglars, assault, or even just areas that feel unsafe, have no lighting, or have restricted access.
5. Safety pen
These pens can look like your average ballpoint pen to the naked eye, but they are actually reinforced to make them tough enough to break glass. In more extreme situations if you find yourself locked in a car or next to a window, just grab this trusty pen from the bottom of your handbag, and break through the window in a matter of seconds.
Overall, the devices you should keep in your handbag depend on your personal needs, and what you feel might help you the most. Even if you are never in a situation where you have to use them, these devices can help you to feel more comfortable and confident about walking home alone at night.