'Use what you have': Silent Rights provide helpful tips to keep you safe this festive season

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"If you see potential danger, you can avoid it or be prepared to defend yourself." Photo: Getty Images
"If you see potential danger, you can avoid it or be prepared to defend yourself." Photo: Getty Images

The festive season is a joyous and exciting time to make plenty of memories with the family, but we can't emphasise enough how careful you should be during this time so that we can start the new year together.

Below, Silent Rights, an organisation established in 2020 which offers help to victims of gender-based violence (GBV) at no extra cost, provides some helpful safety tips to protect yourself this festive season.

Travelling tips

The first tip is critical, especially for many social media lovers. Don't let too many people know where you are going on holiday. Only tell people that you trust.

If you are travelling an unfamiliar route, make sure you plan your route correctly ahead of time. Try to avoid back roads as much as possible and always be aware of your surroundings.

Never give lift to strangers.

Always have a map of the area nearby.

Do not carry large sums of money and keep your valuable items concealed.

Safety household tips

Ensure that your doors lock properly and have burglar bars for extra safety. Ensure you have good lighting and do not leave the outside lights on during the day.

If your house is broken into, immediately report to the police.

Shopping safety tip

When leaving your house going to a mall, be extra courteous. Make sure you park in a well-lit area if you visit the mall at night.

If you are travelling with your kids, hold their hands and be constantly alert of them. If they are going to a bathroom, accompany them. When you are entertaining a large group of children or adults, have someone designated to check on everyone for extra safety.

Water safety tips

Make memories, have fun during this time, but never leave children unattended in or around pools, not even for a second.

Read: Olympic gold medallist Ryk Neethling advocates for water safety after nearly drowning as a child

Self-defence tips

If you walk in a dark street alone heading home and you suddenly feel movement behind, you need to do the following:

1. Improve your body language

Continue to walk and move confidently by standing tall with your chin up and shoulders back. When you walk with your shoulders back, your lungs receive more oxygen, and you will see your surroundings better.

2. Use your eye contact

It's essential to make eye contact because it makes the person know that you know they are there. Avoiding eye contact can show that you are intimidated, making the attacker think you are an easy target.

3. Trust your gut instinct

Focus on responding in different situations and learn to read your body's cues. If you need to defend yourself, trust your intuition.

4. Be aware of your environment

If you see potential danger, you can avoid it or be prepared to defend yourself. It's helpful to stick to well-lit areas. Don't get distracted scrolling through your Instagram. Instead, look for exits or alternate paths.

Also read: Self-defence for pregnant women

5. Negotiate out of a situation

It helps to practice what you'd say to keep yourself out of a potential situation. Mentioning that you have friends and family nearby or talking to someone on the phone and letting them know exactly where you are can create prevention for your would-be attacker.

6. Learn safety boundaries

If a potential attacker comes to your personal space, do not hesitate to take action. When someone makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, it's essential to have safe boundaries.

7. Use your voice

One of your most valuable assets for self-defence is your voice. Take a deep breath and yell 'No' or 'Stop' as loudly as you can. That way, you will draw attention to your situation and potentially get help. This can also startle the offender.

Using your voice can improve your breathing pattern. It can make you focus and have enough strength, which can help you escape the situation.

8. Make it difficult

Another tip is to get light on your feet and move around as much as possible. If you are in a situation where there is more than one attacker, pick one attacker to focus on and move around using them as a shield between you and the other attackers.

Another trick if you are on the floor, use your body as dead weight by rolling around, making it harder for the attacker to move to you.

Must read: 15 things that should be taught in SA's schools

9. Know vital target areas

Know which areas of the attacker's body to target when fighting them. Identify some common places to target with a punch, kick or scratch, e.g., eyes, ears, nose, groin, temples, and knees.

10. Learn self-defence

Register to a self-defence class. Not only are you going to meet new people, but you will get fit, have fun and learn practical tips and tricks that will leave you feeling more confident if you ever feel threatened.

When looking after yourself, always remember that size doesn't matter. All that matters is using what you have to your advantage, be it your voice, agility or wit. Always remain calm and confident.

Submitted to News24 by Silent Rights.


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