Nine self-defense tips everyone should know

Jul 20, 2022

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Unfortunately, there are a lot of assholes out there, but that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your life. However, it’s important to be aware and prepared for situations like this. 

Before we go any further, assault of any kind is not the fault of the victim, no matter their gender, sexuality, if they’re alone, what they’re wearing or what they’re doing. If you’ve experienced assault of any kind, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673 or chat with them online.

Now let’s get into some self-defense tips you should know:

Seatbelt cutter / window breaker combo

This is a tool that most people have carried around with them for years. I’ve had one for a long time and hope I never have to use it, but I have it with me just in case. If I need to get away from a dangerous situation in a car, I can use this tool to cut my seat belt off and break the window for a quick escape. 

This one comes in a pack of two, so either keep an extra or give it to someone as the perfect gift. It’s something every person should keep in their car in case of an emergency.

Mace / taser combo

Most girls have carried around mace since we were teenagers. The excitement of a little more freedom came with extra precautions because some people can be the worst.

I recommend SAFELY testing the taser first. By testing I mean turning it on and pressing the button at a safe distance away from you and anyone else around you. The noise and vibration scared me and almost made me drop it, but I’m glad I did it so now I know what it sounds like and it won’t scare me if I have to use it for a different reason. I hope I don’t, but I’m prepared

Rechargeable personal alarm keychain

There are times when you have to walk alone. Like I said before, you should definitely carry mace, but a personal alarm is another safety measure to add to your keychain. 

I like this one because it’s rechargeable, so you won’t have to worry about the battery dying if you charge it regularly. Also, it goes off by pulling the pin and only stops when you put it back in. The crazy loud sound and flashing light should alert everyone around you and deter the attacker from actually attacking. Definitely a good investment to make for your personal safety.

Domestic violence hand signal

I had no idea about this one until I saw it on TikTok. It’s a simple signal that everyone can remember: hold up your palm facing away from you, tuck your thumb in and close your fist. 

The Canadian Women’s Foundation created the signal in 2020 because acts of domestic violence were predicted to go up during quarantine. You should learn it and recognize it even if you don’t have to use it. It could save the lives of your friends and family living in horrific situations.

Photo: Signal For Help – Canadian Women‘s Foundation

The “Angel Shot”

You might already know about this one. It’s been trending on social media for awhile now, especially TikTok. 

The basics of it are: you’re in a bar or at a restaurant and you’re feeling uncomfortable for one reason or another. You ask your waiter or waitress for an angel shot to tell them they need help without alerting the source of your uncomfortableness or danger. Instead of leaving you, the waiter or waitress should flag down another server to ask them to make the angel shot, so they don’t have to leave your side.

@benjispears on TikTok does an amazing demonstration of how to order an angel shot. These are the different shots to order depending on your situation and what you need from the waiter or waitress:

  • Angel shot neat: ordering this one means you need the server or some type of security to walk you to your car.
  • Angel shot on the rocks: this one means you need the server to call for a ride home like an Uber or Lyft.
  • Angel shot with lime: the last one tells the server you need them to call the police for you.

Sometimes, bars and restaurants have this information posted in their restrooms. It’s something we all should know about whether it’s you ordering it or you receiving the order.

Take a self-defense class

Although it would be nice to go in-person, sometimes your area doesn’t offer any self-defense classes, so online it is. There are even free classes you can take to learn basic self-defense skills like identifying dangerous situations and de-escalating them. 

Learning how to protect yourself in dangerous situations can help you build the confidence you deserve. Just by making you feel more relaxed and less anxious when you’re in public is enough to make learning self-defense worth it.

Follow self-defense TikTok-ers

I’m definitely a visual learner, so reading how to do these self-defense exercises doesn’t always make them clear. I love watching new technique demonstrations on TikTok because I can watch their movements and understand exactly how they did it. Here are a few of the profiles I’ve seen do a great job of demonstrating and explaining:

Be aware of your surroundings even in familiar places

Going out in public can be anxiety-inducing already, but having to constantly be on the look-out for danger just adds to it. Unfortunately, potential threats are something we have to be aware of all the time. 

Being aware of your surroundings is so important. The grocery store you’ve been to hundreds of times and your apartment parking lot are places you should always be aware of even if they’re familiar.

Trust your instincts

We’ve all had those gut feelings. Whether it’s relief after making a decision or feeling uncomfortable while walking alone at night. That feeling of butterflies in your stomach is literally your subconscious sending signals to the nerves in your stomach.

You know what you need more than anyone and when your brain is telling you something, listen to it!

I don’t want you to be afraid of everything after reading this, but I think it’s important to accept that these situations can very well be realities. I hope your takeaway is to enjoy your life and be prepared.


Writer, speaker, and creator on a mission is to normalize normal bodies and help women like you feel at home in your own skin.

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