When Sarah Everard was abducted and killed while walking home at night, the women of social media (and London, where she lived) exploded in anger. Authorities responded by telling women not to walk alone or go out at night and every woman felt the frustration of being told that attacks by men are our fault. We have all been there, heart pounding, clutching our keys, with the knowledge that, probably, keys will do nothing to stop anyone who is determined. What happened to Sarah is what we all fear every day.
Let’s face it, talking on the phone, holding your keys, wearing sensible shoes, and avoiding walking at night are not that helpful—as self-protection goes. And if bad men in the world are determined to continue preying on women, isn’t it time we got better tools? A huge dog, an army of robot bodyguards, a spaceship with laser guns, a police force we can trust, or a black belt in karate would be great. But there are things you can buy right now that will keep you much safer than keys. So, while we work toward more effective protection and a safer world for women, put something effective in your everyday carry.
Wear bling that calls for help
No one will suspect that when you fiddle with this pretty Flare bracelet ($120) that you are sending yourself an exit call, alerting a circle of friends that you are in a sketchy situation, or dialing 911. The Flare looks like a piece of jewelry you would actually wear but it has an out for all the situations women face. Hold down a button to get a realistic-sounding exit call to your own phone so you can walk away from a creepy conversation. Press a button to alert the circle of contacts you preselected that you need help…STAT! Or press a button to call 911 – without fumbling to get out your phone. Sure, it’s expensive. But hey, is there a man in your life saying, “Not all men. I want to help!” Send him the link. Men make a dollar every time we make 75-cents. Men are also the problem. Let one buy it for you.
Put an alarm on your keychain
If you get your keys out when you walk as protection, put something on that keychain that might bring real help. This super-loud alarm ($19.99) looks like a keychain decoration but if you push and hold the button, you will want to cover your ears fast. The noise it emits will startle and hopefully chase off any attacker. If it fails at that, it will at least alert people well outside of your screaming range that you need help.
A direct line to 24/7 help you can wear
These charms ($149) you can attach to a bracelet, necklace, purse, or keychain look pretty and dainty but are actually a panic button that’s backed by security company ADT. If you find yourself in trouble, push the button and it will alert people you are in trouble. Install the free app to your phone, connect up to five contacts, and when you push that button, it will alert them that you need help. If you want more reliable help than your friends and family, you can subscribe to premium protection from ADT for $19.99 a month. This will get you an immediate SOS response to your location or, if you aren’t in imminent danger, someone to talk to while you walk home.
A flashlight, pepper spray, and stun gun combo
You know what? Keys are feeble protection. If you carry a purse, put something better in there and carry that when you are walking alone. A stun gun is a great protection because it isn’t lethal so you are much more likely to use it if someone gets too close. And pepper spray will stop them before they get too close. With this stun gun, flashlight, pepper spray combination ($20.71) in your hand, you will have some real protection against an attacker. If someone gets too close, pepper spray them. If they keep coming, stun them. And when you get home safely, you’ll be able to see the lock to put your keys in it because you’ll have a flashlight in your hand.
Katana Safety Arc
If you are more likely to have your phone in your hand than your keys, the Katana Safety Arc ($79.95) can turn that phone into a safety system. Push a button to release a powerful alarm, a silent panic button, or a 24/7 monitored response center. You can use that safety center to call someone who will stay on the phone with you while you walk or get emergency services dispatched to your precise location. It attaches to your phone and comes with a wrist lanyard, so you won’t drop your phone. It looks like—and is, which is also handy—a wallet stuck to your phone. It comes with five months of service. After that, that level of service goes up to $15 a month.