As a mother, it can be extremely difficult to send your daughter away to school. You’ve always been right there to make sure she is safe and sound and just knowing that she’ll be miles away can be frightening.
While you certainly can’t go with her – although you’d probably like to – there are pieces of advice that you can send her with to help her stay safe while she’s off getting the education that will help her achieve her goals.
Obviously, it’s not going to do any good to scare her and make her afraid of her own shadow, but she also shouldn’t close her eyes to the possibility that there are bad guys out there. Give her the tools she needs to make sure she has a fighting chance if she ever finds herself face to face with danger.
So, without further ado, here is what every young female college attendee should know (from a girl who used to be one):
#1: Criminals like easy targets, so you should always be aware
Although you may be very proficient at walking and checking your emails at the same time on your cell phone, it doesn’t mean that you should. The more unaware you are of your surroundings, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be victimized.
You see, criminals like easy targets. So, if you have no idea what is going on around you, you fit right into their plan and become their bulls-eye. Not only do they have the advantage of surprise with someone who isn’t paying attention, but you are also less likely to be able to identify them because you didn’t even see them coming.
For these reasons, you always want to be aware of who and what is around you. Walk with your head up and stay alert to the people and buildings in your immediate area. Make it a point to know what is “normal” for that area so you will be able to recognize if something is out of place.
#2: There is safety in numbers, so keep your company close
Most young adults believe that their attitude and gusto will keep them safe when they’re alone in public, but there is always more safety in numbers. Not only are you less inviting to a criminal as he or she probably doesn’t want to take on more than one person, but you also have another set of eyes to increase your awareness level.
Although this may seem more important at night, when victimization is generally higher, don’t forget this guideline in daylight hours either. After all, crime happens at all times of the day so you should always keep company close whenever possible.
#3: Have a safety plan in place
One of the greatest things you can do if confronted with a bad guy is to have a plan already in place. Know what you’re going to do before you do it so you don’t freeze at the moment that you need to act the most.
There is a technique that law enforcement officers and professional sports athletes use that will benefit you as well. It’s called visualization and it is extremely easy to do.
Basically, you create scenarios in your mind where you’re face to face with an attacker. You visualize yourself navigating through them successfully, always imagining yourself “winning.”
For instance, when you’re walking to class, think to yourself, “What would I do if someone came around the corner right now and tried to attack me?” Look around for escape routes or other people that you could shout to for help. Know what options you have before you need them.
Again, the goal isn’t to make you paranoid or scared when you’re walking around campus, but rather to help you recognize the importance to having a safety plan in place in the event that you need it (which hopefully you don’t).
#4: Trust your gut
If something doesn’t feel right to you, you need to trust your instinct and get yourself out of the situation fast. Even if you can’t put your finger on what is making you uneasy, understand that something is out of place and get away before something goes wrong.
Your body has a way of picking up cues too small for your mind to register. It will catch when someone says or does something that is indicative of trouble. Learn to trust this feeling and listen to it, even if you don’t understand why.
So, when those hairs on the back of your neck or arms start to stick straight up, don’t worry so much about figuring out why. Just look for the safest way to exit the situation and get out of there. You can take the time to figure out why once you’re safe and sound.
#5: Know the basics of self-defense
All women should know how to defend themselves. No, you don’t have to be a black belt in martial arts or learn super complex moves, but you should at least know some basics.
For instance, there are five areas on the human body that cannot be toughened up no matter how big and bad your attacker is. They are the eyes, nose, groin, knees, and shin. Therefore, if you find yourself being attacked, these are the areas you want to strike to cause your attacker pain and try to get away.
This may mean you have to be vicious, but if that is what you have to do to survive, fight like you mean it girl! Now is not the time to mind your manners and be a lady. Put your gloves on and show how tough you can truly be!
#6: Never, ever get up
The one thing you have to be aware of is that if you are attacked, you will likely suffer injury. At a minimum, you’ll probably have cuts and bruises. And, if it’s a brutal attack, you may receive broken bones, gunshot wounds, and/or long and deep cuts. Don’t freak out about that and never, ever give up.
Just because you are bleeding or hurting doesn’t mean that it is the end for you. Use that pain as a motivator to keep fighting. Keep your focus on getting away, not on what is being done to you.
Remember that people survive brutal and heinous crimes every day. Choose to be one of those individuals versus someone who succumbs to injuries that weren’t even life threatening but you just lost the will to survive.
If you’re a mom that wants to keep her daughter safe, know you’ve given her a fighting chance by sharing this information. And, if you’re the daughter that has a mom or other mother figure that wants to keep you safe, then take this information to heart so that you can protect yourself as best as possible so you can get home safe to her.
She’s waiting for you and loves you.