For the past couple of weeks our Facebook group have been discussing personal safety and keeping yourself out of potentially difficult situations, especially now that the nights are getting darker earlier.
Of course no one wants to be alarmist, but we are all (and especially women) at risk from at least the threat of violence, whether verbal or physical. Most commenter’s seem to agree that spotting and avoiding trouble in the first place is the best option.
Here is a brief summery of what we spoke about.
- Plan ahead. If you are going out and know what time you will be heading home arrange for a taxi to be waiting for you.
- If possible travel with friends! Know what time the bus is due. That will save you standing in an exposed location waiting and alone.
- Be aware of your surroundings and scan the street ahead to avoid potential confrontation. It is better to take a short detour than to realise too late that that group of people outside the pub are looking for a vulnerable person to hassle.
There are plenty of websites giving advice but some seem to think that we live in an action movie and give very impractical advice. Here are some links to some of the better ones that were posted. suzylamplugh.org and this one.
As expected we were given some excellent advice from our members:
- Let people know where you are going and what time they can expect you.
- Don’t panic if you are confronted, try to keep calm and walk away. Don’t become angry or aggressive yourself, this could make the situation worse!
- Have your mobile phone ready, if a potential attacker thinks that you have help on the way they may think twice.
- Carry a personal alarm and keep it handy. You don’t want to be rummaging through you handbag looking for it.
If you are caught out don’t be afraid to report it to the police. Most forces take LGBT hate crime very seriously. Remember, it may not help you but it could help the next person! zhooshbrighton.co.uk has some very good advice on this matter as does this police website on LGBT safety tips, and Stonewall’s “how to report hate crime” if you don’t want to report it to the police.
Remember that a confident person who looks like they know where they going are less likely to attract unwelcome attention than someone who looks timid and afraid. Be careful but don’t be put off enjoying yourself.