April is Women’s Health + Safety month. Women’s voices need to be heard so that strategies, policies, and practices aimed at reducing gender-based violence are in place. Women’s overall health and well-being, their ability to focus and perform their work, and motivation to move forward in life are greatly affected by domestic violence. Safe spaces need to be created with support systems for healing and recovery following an incident.
More than 19% of women have been raped in their lifetime. Many more have been subjected to other forms of abuse such as sexual harassment, workplace violence, human trafficking, bullying, stalking, or teen dating abuse. Many of these traumatic experiences are not verbalized by those going through such abuse.
Child molestation is another form by which the most vulnerable are taken advantage of — most often by someone they know. Gender-based violence has increased with the Covid-19 lockdowns. Women must be vigilant at all times using safety strategies.
There are some important safety tips for all women to follow.
- Be aware of your surroundings – do not be distracted by talking on the phone, texting, etc.
- Always lock car doors and doors in the home.
- Do not answer the door unless sure you know who is there.
- Trust your instincts.
- Never pull over for someone telling you something is wrong with your car. Drive to a safe place and check it for yourself.
- Never walk alone, especially at night.
- Make eye contact with other pedestrians so they know you are aware of them and could possibly identify them.
- Scream as loud as you can, carry a key chain alarm, panic button, whistle, siren, pepper spray, flashlight.
- Park safely.
- If you need to defend yourself hit vulnerable body parts such as eyes, nose, throat, groin.
If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.
For more mental health resources, see the National Helpline Database.