Beware Bad Advice! Protect Yourself with Awareness Skills.
There are countless tips and blogs about self defense and awareness on the internet. Some of the advice given, though, is bad. Just simply bad. Be really careful about taking advice from the internet, especially forums and Q&A sites. Many times, the ones giving advice are people who have no background in Self Defense. They are simply throwing out ideas that they think (or hope) will work. It's hard to know who to trust.
But odds are, websites and blog-sites that have been around for several years, and who's authors/trainers have a background in Self Defense, or at least have been researching the subject for several years, will have more reliable advice and information.
And, yes, I am aware of the irony of using the internet to warn you about bad advice on the internet. :-)
Check out these examples of bad advice...
On a website forum where women were discussing ways to be safer while walking at night and/or alone:
One woman wrote: "Me, if I get nervous, I'll try to make myself the least attractive possible. I tie my hair together, I put my hood on, I try to walk with a 'manly' posture, I sniff very loudly and clear my throat to look disgusting and I also cough loudly to appear sick."
Wearing a hood is a bad idea. It cuts off your peripheral vision and makes it difficult to see anyone coming up behind/beside you. Keep your peripheral vision clear so that you can look around easily to watch for danger. Tying her hair back IS a good idea...one less thing to interfere with her vision. But, even if it's cold or raining, try to avoid the hood and wear a hat instead.
Pretending to be sick can actually backfire on you. Thugs are looking for victims who appear distracted and weak. Instead of avoiding someone with a cold/flu, they may actually consider that person a good target because they appear weak enough to successfully attack.
Walk with your head up, look around, look confident. That's your best bet to lower your chances of being attacked.
And trying to walk in a "manly posture"? Hey, you never know, it might help.
Related Post: "6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Predator's Target"
Stay off your phone...
Another woman wrote: "I've gotten my phone out before and pretended to be talking on it, saying things like 'right. I'll be there in like two minutes' loudly. My thought being that were I going to mug someone, I'd prefer a target who didn't have help a very short distance away and [who is] expecting them immediately."
I can't tell you how many times I've recommended that people stay off their phones when they're walking in public. At least a billion times (more or less... probably less).
Reason one: Bad guys look for people who are distracted. And when you're on your phone, even if you're not actually talking to someone, you will appear to be distracted to a thug.
Second: Now you've cut off part of your peripheral vision by holding the phone to your ear. AND, a thief might steal your phone right out of your hand. And because you're distracted, you probably won't see him coming.
What are the three most important things about going out in public? Awareness, Awareness, Awareness. The more aware you are, the less likely you will be chosen as a target.
Related Post "Awareness: The Cornerstone of Self Defense"
And then there's the "were I going to mug someone..." comment. Most predators don't care if you have someone "like two minutes away." That's plenty of time for them to do their nefarious deeds and get away.
This is just one example of bad advice from Wiki-How (there are more)...
This comment was found on a wiki-how article about how to defend yourself: "Always remain in the defensive position. Don't give your attacker the chance to grab your arm or catch you off balance. As soon as you hit him/her return to the 'defensive position'. To get into that position, put one hand in front of your cheek and one in front of your temple (left or right depending on your stance)."
I suppose this may be good advice for someone who is in a competition fighting/boxing match. But in a situation where someone is violently attacking you, this is bad advice. Once you strike your attacker, strike him again. And again, if necessary. Don't give him time to recover from your first strike by "returning to the defensive position." Keep those strikes coming. The point is to disable/injure your attacker so you can get away.
Take the time to learn awareness skills. And learn some self-defense techniques. Take a self defense class. And be very careful about "advice" you find in forums, chat rooms or comment sections.