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    Women Are Sharing The "Rules" They've Had To Follow To Stay Safe In Public, And It's A Sad Reality But So Important

    "I hate the fact that we even have to think about these types of safety issues nowadays — it's really sad."

    We recently asked the women of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which "rules" they've had to follow to feel safer in public. They shared a lot of helpful safety tips, but the truth is, taking extra precautions just for protection is a sad and frustrating reality that many women face every day.

    A young woman walking on city street at dusk

    Here's what they had to say:

    1. "Before I got married, I would wear a 'wedding' ring on my ring finger in order to keep the creepy guys at bay. It worked really well."


    2. "I ALWAYS try to park under a street light — even during the day."


    "Always stay in well-lit areas. I do this when I need to take my dog out at night, always staying where the street lights are and literally standing beneath the light."


    3. "I keep my finger on the power button of my iPhone when walking at night. If you press it fast five times, it’ll call the cops."


    4. "I take a screenshot of my Lyft/Uber driver’s info and send it to a friend. I currently share my location via iPhone with at least three people at all times as well."

    A woman holds her cell phone, which displays a map with her location

    5. "When it’s dark and you’re alone, always use the main road to walk home, even if it takes 30 minutes longer."


    6. "If you feel as if someone is following you in a store or maybe on a run, make sure there is a decent distance between the two of you, and then stare them down."

    "If they are following you, 9 times out of 10, they will back off if they realize you have a description of them."


    7. "Whenever I go hiking or pretty much anywhere alone, I always keep my ID on my person."

    "We can't always control what happens to us unfortunately, and if something happens to me and I end up dead or grievously injured, I want my family to know. It's morbid, but that's just how it is sometimes."


    8. "Always be prepared to call out to an imaginary friend or wave at someone in the distance to make sure people think someone else is waiting for you."


    9. "Never exercise (run/jog/bike/walk) outside with headphones in."

    A woman jogs on the beach without headphones

    10. "When you are pumping gas, make sure you continually sweep the area, even through your car windows, so you can see if someone is advancing."


    "Head on a swivel at night, always. I literally watch my back when I’m walking."


    11. "I always carry my keys in my hand so I have a weapon."


    "I keep a sharply pointed glass nail file in my jacket pocket when I go out."


    12. "Sit close to the driver if you are catching a bus — especially at night."


    13. "Just keep walking when you’re catcalled."

    14. "When going on first dates, I always take my own car, and I text at least two friends screenshots of the person's profile, including name and photos, plus info on where I'm going."

    "I also send them a picture of what I'm wearing in case I go missing and they need a description for the police."


    15. "Never leave the car running with keys in the ignition, and immediately lock the doors once you're in the car."


    "I always check my backseat before getting in and lock my doors immediately once I’m inside."


    16. "Always have pepper spray on your keys, and hold it out when you're walking — it’s better than keys or knives."


    17. "Always pay attention to the cars behind you when driving. If you think someone is following you, make a few random turns, and if they're still behind you start driving toward the nearest police station."

    18. "I always make sure to check if anyone is lurking around nearby before I open my front door to get in the house. It's always been a fear of mine that someone dodgy may know where I live."

    "Side note: I hate the fact that we even have to think about these types of safety issues nowadays — it's really sad."


    19. "When I get in a cab, I always take a photo of the driver’s ID badge and text it to my friend."

    "Even if the journey is very short, I figure if I don’t make it to my destination, someone has a record of who I was traveling with."


    20. "I know this may sound pretty obvious, but I always survey a room before entering. If the 'energy' feels wrong, I leave. If you are ever uncomfortable in a specific area or around certain people, politely leave."

    "Your intuition is never wrong; always listen to your gut and the little voice in your head."


    21. "I don't smile in stores. At anyone. The only exception is children. I’ve tried to smile at someone passing by out of politeness, and that has instantly escalated into a man expecting my phone number."

    A woman shops at a grocery store

    22. "I have my car keys out and ready before leaving whatever store, building, etc., I'm in so I can get into my car and lock myself in as quickly as possible."

    "In a particularly dangerous area, I stick the keys through my fingers in case I need to defend myself on my way to my car."


    23. "I try to walk with purpose and confidence, making it look like I have some place to be."

    "And try to never be caught off guard. Also, a good resting b*tchface helps keep people (let’s be honest, men) away."


    24. "My junior year of college, we turned our floor group chat into a 'got home safe' chat if anyone had to go out after dark, or any time they were nervous going somewhere alone."

    "They could send a message, and at least 20 people would know where they were and if they got back safely."


    25. "Never leave a drink unattended or accept a drink from someone if it's already open or you didn't see it being made."

    A woman holds her drink while chatting at a bar

    26. "Try not to park too close to another vehicle, especially one that you don't recognize."

    "We literally had a seminar about how women are abducted out of parking lots that way."


    27. "When going out to dinner with friends, we try to find parking next to each other; if we can't, whoever is closest becomes a taxi to drop everyone else off at each other's vehicles."


    28. "Whenever I have to walk home in the dark, I try to call or video call with my friends."

    "It makes me feel better to know that someone is aware of my location and is there in case something were to happen."


    And finally...

    29. "Don't let your guard down, even if someone seems super nice and non-threatening."

    A woman alone on a bench looks up, as if someone is talking to her

    Are there any other "rules" you follow to feel safer in public? Let us know in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.