Safety First: A Lankan Ladies’ Guide To Staying Out Of Harm’s Way - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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Safety First: A Lankan Ladies’ Guide To Staying Out Of Harm’s Way

Arm yourself with the knowledge to stay secure on the streets.

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Us, gals, are all too familiar with catcalling, groping and downright offensive harassment that takes place on the streets of Colombo every day. Having been subject to some form of verbal or physical assault, most of us now have a fair knowledge on how to deal with such situations and steer clear from harm’s way. But, having a little more know-how on self-defense – from a guy who knows a few sweet moves – is always a good idea. Since it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, we put our safety concerns to Cosmo Guy and martial artist, Naveen Abeysinghe.

Q/ What do you suggest doing as a safety precaution in any of the below-mentioned scenarios?

Situation 1: A Crowded Bus

A/ It’s best if you can avoid any serious forms of physical defence on this occasion. Often, you need to try your best to AVOID a fight, however, there are also times you need to make a statement.

In a crowded bus, you can definitely defend yourself by verbally confronting your harasser, as there will be other people to help. But remember, especially in cases of sexual assault, you HAVE THE RIGHT TO FIGHT! And, as a rule of thumb, always be aware of your surroundings and make sure you don’t present yourself as a victim.

Situation 2: In A Moving Vehicle With No Other Company

A/ Now this is a more serious situation. You shouldn’t attack the driver, and, let’s face it, not every lady is superwoman-like to jump out of a moving vehicle and roll out without a scratch. And really, I wouldn’t recommend it!

In such situations, try communicating with anyone who could be of assistance—family and friends. This can be as simple as sending your coordinates, dropping a text (much better if coded) or making a call and allowing the receiver to listen to what’s going on; I must stress that it all varies according to your situation. 

Be tactful and strategic, don’t panic and try to get the car stopped; mind games might come in handy!

Situation 3: A Small Road Or Alley At Night

A/ When you can’t avoid dodgy alleys or small deserted roads, it’s best to be vigilant and prepared.

If it boils down to a point where you’re forced to physically defend yourself, perform a quick move to stun your persecutor or inflict injury. Immediately after, remove yourself from the environment before you call for help. Ideally, it would be best if you have some knowledge on defending yourself, such as the wrist hold, front and back choke holds, bear hug, mount position etc.

Killer moves à la Black Widow would certainly come in handy, but since this might be a little difficult to come about, always try to have company as you walk down lonely roads. If this isn’t possible talk to someone over the phone (while remaining aware of what’s happening around you). Keep in mind not to look like an easy target. Most people who might want to hurt you will be making an assessment of your body language and behaviour, so make sure to be pro-active.

Q/ Is there anything she should be doing right after she gets away from such a situation?

A/ Yes, but this depends on the context. Inform your friends and family or even the police if it comes to it. Always bear in mind that it’s quite possible for your aggressor to attempt revenge, once you alert the authorities. So remain vigilant!

Above all, I would encourage any woman to take on some form of martial arts. We can’t always depend on others to assist us, as the very people who try to help, could really be the perpetrator. So learn to defend yourself!

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