The best time of the year has finally graced us with its presence. Exams are nearly over for everyone, student residences and campuses across the country have emptied out, and it’s time to enjoy every second of your well-deserved vacation. You’ve earned this, after all!

It’s the season for family, friends, gifts, relaxing and most importantly, fun. Whether you’re going away on a family holiday, lazing about with friends at the pool/beach, or breaking it down at the club all night, there’s no denying the excitement and possibilities the Festive Season holds.

Unfortunately, living in a country with such an alarmingly high rate of violent crime means you can never completely let your guard down, especially as a female. According to the latest statistics on violent crime, 67 people are murdered daily in South Africa. Between April and June 2022, 855 women and 243 children were killed, and 11000 cases of assault involving female victims were opened.

We also witness a marked increase in crimes, such as theft and burglaries, due to people usually carrying around more cash and valuables this time of the year. There’s also the tendency for people to lose their inhibitions due to drinking, making them easier targets for criminals looking to take advantage of that fact.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be out there living your best life, though. It’s possible to still have an amazing, fun-filled break while remaining safety-conscious.

Below are a few safety tips for incorporating this holiday season:

1. When you’re out with friends at a club, party or braai, don’t wander off the premises with someone you don’t know, even if they seem friendly and interesting. Stay with your friends’ group at all times.
2. When using a taxi service like Uber or Bolt, ensure the driver you’ve been assigned has good reviews. And even then, do not travel alone unless it is absolutely necessary.
3. Get yourself (or ask your parents to purchase) a self-defence product, such as pepper spray, a stun gun or even a safety whistle. Educate yourself on how to correctly use it in a dangerous situation and keep it close at hand at all times.
4. Always keep your family up to date regarding your whereabouts. Let them know immediately when you leave one venue to go to another.
5. It’s easy to let your guard down when you’re in a familiar place, like a bar or club your regularly visit. However, it is imperative not to leave any drinks or meals unattended, as someone could easily drop a harmful substance or drug in them in order to incapacitate and take advantage of you.

Wherever you may be this season, if you feel your safety is threatened in any way, don’t think you’re overreacting and try to ignore your impulses. Tell your friends, leave the area together, or call the police immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here’s to a fun, safe and blessed Festive Season!

Tell us: What tips do you have for keeping safe this season?