Did you know if you're out for a run, you shouldn't have both of your earphones in? The local women's organization Runhers says that's just one small tip on a long list of how to protect yourself as a woman. After recent attacks on women who were out jogging, the group is trying to arm women with knowledge.
"I don't really have a plan. I just hope for the best, and if someone tries to approach me, I just try to keep a good distance," says Yesenia Munoz, who was out for a walk at Lake Hefner.
Runhers says too many women don't have a plan, which can leave them helpless during an attack.
"We called police departments here in the Metro. We called police departments around the country.." says Sheila Kidder, director of special projects with Runhers. She says they couldn't find any kind of a comprehensive guide on women's safety, so they created it. "If you're on your way home, or around your apartment, or if you're on public transportation," Sheila explains what all is in the Designing a Safer Woman Project handbook. From walking through a parking lot, to a night out on the town, the handbook helps women create their own personal protection plan, built on their lifestyle.
"At Walmart, on 59th and May, recently a woman got her purse stolen," says Mandy Cook, who was also out for a walk around Lake Hefner.
"If somebody wants your purse, give it to them," says Sheila. She recommends making photocopies of everything in your wallet. "If they want my purse, they can have it, because I know all the numbers I need to know in order to call and cancel and make sure everything's ok," she explains.
"I make sure to look around me and see my surroundings," says Cook, explaining ways she protects herself.
Sheila says this is an important tip. "We had a police lieutenant come and speak (at one of our forums) and what he said he takes his wife to the grocery store, and he sits in the parking lot and just observes behavior," says Sheila. She says that officer found that 95-percent of the women he observed were unknowingly making themselves easy prey for an attack. "They're not aware of their surroundings. They're on their cell phones. They're looking at their bill to make sure they didn't get overcharged for something," she says.
"When I see people that are awkward and they make me uncomfortable, I usually try to go the opposite direction," says Cook. Sheila says that's also very important. If you see someone who makes you uncomfortable, get away from them as safely and quickly as you can.
In light of the recent women who were attacked while running, Sheila has even more important tips. "If at all possible, run with a buddy. And, don't wear both earphones. Even during the day, if I'm running by myself and I have earphones, I only have one in so I can pay attention to my surroundings," she says.
Another important lesson Runhers is trying to teach-- if you are attacked, it's not your fault. Someone chose to commit a crime, and it is not your fault. Runhers hopes to use their new guide to prevent women from ever experiencing that, by arming them with everything they need to protect themselves. You can print out your free copy here.