It sucks to admit that as a woman, I have to take extra steps to ensure I stay safe and healthy when I go out to bars and clubs with my friends. I’d love to be able to just get wild and let loose on the weekends, but I know that’s dangerous and I need to stay on alert. In order to make sure I don’t end up the victim of some scumbag who enjoys harming women, here are some things I do to take care of myself.
- I travel in packs. This is one of the best ways for women to stay safe and healthy when going out and having fun. Generally speaking, if I’m going to the bar or club, I’m going with my best girls anyway. We meet up at one of our houses and go out together. We also leave at the same time, usually ride-sharing to make our way home. If one of us is hungry, all of us are hitting McDonald’s even if we’re not ordering (even though we usually are). We don’t split up because we know there’s power in numbers.
- I always communicate where I’m at and who I’m with. If I’m meeting up with a guy from a dating app or heading to an event on my own, I let someone (or several someones) know where I’m going, what time, who I’m meeting, when I expect to be home, etc. This not only helps me feel safe but also keeps the lines of communication open with my loved ones, who like to know that I’m healthy and well. They’re always checking in with me to see what I’m up to.
- I have several women’s safety apps on my phone. You can never be too safe, I don’t think. In addition to letting people know where I’m at via text, I also use apps like Hollaback and Circulo (formerly Circle of 6), which I’d recommend all women to download. The first is an app that lets women document street harassment they experience so that police can see the extent of the problem in a given area. The second allows you to choose six friends to send updates to about your safety at a given time.
- I take cars instead of walking when it’s late. If I am out on my own at night, even if I’m a walkable distance from my apartment, I’ll order an Uber or a taxi with a reputable company rather than walking. I hate that I can’t enjoy the night air and city lights, but I don’t want to be assaulted, raped, or murdered, so I know I’m better off taking the safe option (though yes, I know there are shady Uber/taxi drivers too).
- I don’t drink much and I never let anyone buy me drinks. Isn’t it terrible knowing that you can’t let a cute guy buy you a drink when you’re out at a bar without having to worry that you’re going to get roofied? Even when I’m buying my own cocktails, I know that in order to stay safe and healthy, I need to watch my intake and not get drunk. A slight buzz, sure, but that’s about it. I need all my mental faculties firmly in place
- I’m always aware of my surroundings. It goes without saying that women have to be constantly aware of what’s going on around them at all times. We’re always looking over our shoulders to see if anyone’s following us, always crossing over to the better-lit side of the road so that we’re not in the dark, and the list goes on and on. It’s depressing and exhausting to have to be so on guard all the time, but I know if I want to stay safe and healthy, that’s just the way it goes.