Over the last few weeks, the attacks occurring in Portswood and other areas of Southampton have made the city a bit of a scary place. As a fresher, this is the first time I’ve had to worry about something like this, but according to a quick google search, and talking to friends in senior years, unfortunately it’s been happening in different forms for years. In 2003, events led to the murder of seventeen year old Hannah Foster in Portswood, a local school student, highlighting how serious the issue is.
I’m not trying to scare you, just make aware how serious the situation is. Here at The Tab, we’re worried about everyone’s safety, so I’ve put together some advice on the best ways to avoid attack and assault, and what to do if it does happen:
- Think ahead about getting home. Coordinate plans with friends and arrange transportation. Always carry enough money for cab fare, but if you find yourself in the situation where you have no money, take advantage of the SUSU’s and Radio Taxis’ ‘Always Get Home Safe’ initiative. Students with no money in their wallets can get a receipt from their taxi driver and repay via SUSU reception the next day. The number to call is .
- If you’re lucky enough to have your car with you at uni, when walking to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand with the points of the keys between your fingers. This way if you are attacked, you may use the keys as a weapon against your attacker
- You are safest in bright, well lit and busy areas
- Never take short cuts at night. Stick to well-lit main routes
- Do not listen to a music through headphones when out walking or jogging – you need to stay alert to your surroundings
- Stay with friends whenever possible and don’t walk home alone
- Look after friends if they’ve had too much to drink and make sure they get home safely
- If you are alone, set your mobile phone to vibrate as not to draw attention to yourself
- Walk facing the traffic to avoid ‘kerb crawlers’
- If you think you are being followed – Cross over the road. If you are followed, cross back again. If you are still concerned, go to the nearest public place, a shop, pub or house with lights on and call the police on 999
- If you are attacked, you can use reasonable force in self-defence. You can’t carry a weapon, but a can of deodrant in your bag can act in the same way as pepper spray at close range – so make sure you pop one in there before you go out. The police also hand out free rape alarms.
- If you decide to defend yourself, be aware that your attacker might be stronger than you, or may take an object you are using in self-defence and use it against you. It is often better to shout loudly and run away!
- Shout ‘fire!’ rather than ‘help!’ – it can get more results
- And lastly, wet yourself! Some of the best advice in the event that someone attempts to sexually assault you is to try to do things to disgust your attacker – try making yourself vomit or urinate, or tell the attacker that you have AIDS or any other sexually transmitted disease