It’s good to study judo or any martial arts for self-defense to protect yourself from bad elements on the street. “Self-defense training teaches women the skills that facilitate the setting of healthy emotional and physical boundaries,” says psychology experts Dr. Jill Cermele, and her co-author Dr. Martha McCaughey. But if you can’t, it’s totally okay. Learning to be street smart can save you from the jungle-like streets.
Being street smart means you have the know-how to be able to survive the challenges of life in the suburbs. You need to be independent-minded, someone who makes a wise decision when facing awkward situations, someone who knows how to listen, understand, and analyze every situation. According to Pamela King, a Marriage & Family Therapist, “Knowing when and how to counterattack can make the difference between rape and escape in the first few seconds of an assault.”
Be Smart When…
…there’s no choice but to walk on the street. Walk tall and look smart. The best targets are those who look confused, preoccupied, and distracted. Be vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking in dark alleys. Always know where the security cameras are, and if possible be around where there are people. Avoid using your phone, whether talking or texting. Phones keep you preoccupied.
…entering a building, be aware of emergency exit signs. You will never know when an emergency can happen.
…parking, choose a good spot, somewhere near a security camera or where guards can visibly see your car. Don’t invite robbers. Keep important things in the compartments or in the trunks. Be sure you lock the doors before you leave.
… making a trip to the ATM. Whatever time of day it is, always look around. See if the area has proper lighting and security cameras. It is safer to use ATMs in gas stations and convenience stores. Make it really quick. Beware of suspicious people walking around. If you feel uneasy, trust your instinct, and just go.
…carrying your bag. The bad guy never knew what’s inside your bag, but sometimes women love a bag that attracts attention. Carry it close to your body, hold onto it not too loose, not too firm, but consciously. If possible, just carry bags that are simple and big enough for your things to fit in.
…to say Yes and when to say NO. It’s okay to say No sometimes, especially when you’re in awkward situations, like walking at night in the street and some random strangers came up to you asking something. You can just easily say sorry you don’t know and walk straight ahead. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s a good thing to be book smart, but it is better if you could apply what you’ve learned from books and become street smart. The street is where reality is. You interact with real people, good and bad. Not all have good intentions in mind. Some are forced by situations to survive.
Don’t be a victim. The suburban street is a dangerous jungle where you need to be smart, wise, and tough to survive. Learn to say No when needed, walk away when you sense danger. It’s Okay. To be smart, doesn’t mean for you to be rude, but you don’t need to be extra nice either. There are ways to reject people politely.
You are on your own in this jungle. Don’t let your emotions get in your way of survival. It’s okay to be nervous but don’t let other people sense it. Look smart so you won’t be an easy target. Put your safety first before other’s welfare, or you’ll end up being sorry for yourself. As what psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton M.D. has related, “I think that all women need training in self-protection, be it model mugging, martial arts, shooting or guard dogs, because violence against women is a real and present danger, and it will never go away.”