HOW TO PARTY SAFELY
Before you go out at night
Charge your cellphone, and make sure emergency numbers (ambulance, police, parents) are stored on it.
Tell two responsible adults where you’re going, when you expect to return, and at what stage they should start looking for you if you’re not back – even if you only plan to get home at 11 the next morning. This could save your life.
Choose your mode of transport carefully. Designate a friend who can be trusted not to drink when it’s their turn to drive.
Don’t wear loads of valuable jewellery and don’t carry a lot of cash – it could make you a target. Instead of a bulky handbag, take a wraparound bag or pouch bag that you can wear on the dance floor. Wear your bag on the front of your body rather than at the back.
Once you’re there
Park or get dropped off as close to the venue as possible.
On arrival at a club or party, find out where the exits and security staff are. If someone starts harassing you, for example, you’ll know how to get outside and to safety quickly.
Always leave your bag where you can see it, such as on a table in front of you or on your lap. Never leave it on the floor, under your chair or hanging from the back of a chair, and don’t leave it unattended for a second.
Always ensure this part of your night is well planned.
Don’t walk alone. Rather leave with a group. If you have to walk part of the way alone, ask security staff to go with you.
While walking to your car, hold your keys in your hand, where they can be used to poke an attacker in the eye or throat. If you have a pepper-spray canister, hold that. Be super-alert, looking around you for movement.
Confident body language can deter a potential attacker. Walk purposefully, keep your head up and swing your arms.
When you get into your car, lock all the doors and drive off at once. Don’t sit in it and make phone calls or touch up your makeup. And if you’re in someone else’s car, ask them to lock the doors immediately.
Always check the car parked beside yours before you get in. If a lone male is sitting in the seat nearest you, walk off and return with a guard or policeman. Parked near a big van? Get into your car on the passenger side, rather than risk being pulled into the van.
If you suspect you’re being followed, make three right turns. If the car is still on your tail, phone the police, drive to a well-lit public place such as a 24-hour petrol station or police station, and hoot. Whatever you do, don’t drive home and let your pursuer know where you live.
In your car boot, always keep a torch, a spare tyre and a jack (make sure you know how to use them), and a bottle of water in case of an overheating engine.
Warning: creepy people ahead!
Never take drinks from strangers unless they’re poured in front of you. If you do accept one, go to the bar so you can see it being poured. Remember, barmen have been implicated in drink-drugging cases, so be careful. And don’t leave your half-finished drink unattended while you go to the toilet or go dancing. Rather take your drink onto the dance floor or ask a friend to watch it for you. If you start feeling dizzy or strange in any way, alert your friends or security staff immediately.
If you choose to link up with people you’ve just met, don’t go alone. Always calculate the risk before deciding to go somewhere with strangers. Two of you isn’t enough, especially if you’re both female; there are also cases of couples being overpowered. Rather go in a group of three or more, with guys you know well. Travel in your own vehicle if you want to go somewhere with a new crowd – don’t ever get into strangers’ cars or invite them into yours.
A man may be good-looking, well-dressed and well-spoken, but it doesn’t mean he’s a safe bet. Be wary of men who walk with a limp or stick and ask you for help, or those who offer to assist you with holiday luggage or a flat tyre. Rather ask a security person for help if you need it.
Don’t go on holidays with men you don’t know well, don’t particularly like, or distrust even slightly. It’s tempting to accept last-minute invitations to exotic destinations when you’re feeling cash-strapped, lonely, or reckless after too many drinks. Don’t do it.