Gabrielle Rubin, founder and instructor of Female Awareness, a company that teaches self-defense classes to New Yorkers, tells us some of the most important things about safety that everyone should know.
Q: What are some important lessons that people learn from your self-defense classes?
- Don't walk and text. It shows that you're not paying attention and someone could easily come behind you and hurt you.
- Consolidate your bags. These days if you go to the drugstore to buy two items, you still come out with eighteen bags. Put all of your items into as few bags as possible to free up your hands. Even better, use one of those reusable shopping bags, so you can throw it over your shoulder and free up your hands completely (and it's good for the environment!). If bad guys see your hands are filled with bags, you become more of a target.
- Never walk and talk on your cell phone. It may make you feel safer, but it actually makes you less safe. If you're on your cell phone, you can't hear what's going on around you, you lose the use of your hand and it makes it hard to see someone who may be coming on the side of you because your arm is blocking part of your vision. It's better to call someone briefly and say, "I'm leaving now and I'll be there in fifteen minutes," so they know when to expect you instead of talking to them the whole way there.
- Have your keys in your pocket when you approach your apartment. Don't be that person fishing for your keys in your doorway--it's a common place for people to be targeted in attacks.
Most attacks come as a surprise--if you're not paying attention, if you're distracted or if you simply don't see the bad guy. The attacker notices that you're not paying attention and that makes you more of a target. All of these things that I tell people in my classes are easily changed and they can help you feel safer in situations when you're alone.