Turn your handbag into an eve-teaser's worst nightmare
Self-defense is a necessary survival skill for every individual to acquire, regardless of gender; and one of many options available exclusively to women, is a handbag filled with effective self-defense tools, which will discourage even the most persistent eve-teaser.
None of the items recommended as self-defense tools are illegal, and do not require a permit to carry. A small independent survey where 20 women were asked whether they carried any of the following items in their handbags, resulted in each of them revealing the permanent presence of at least 2 items in their bags.
We are listing these items in order of their affordability, effectiveness and the required skill needed to use them.
1.The Pen: One of the most common types of pens used by the general population is the humble ballpoint pen. Available from Rs.3 and up, this pen can be easily accommodated in a tiny clutch or a large tote bag, and is the most affordable “weapon” around. The effectiveness of a pen as a weapon revolves around the user’s ability to use it as a stabbing tool. A hammer fist wrapped tightly around the length of the pen is recommended to execute the move, which is basic, and will cause the abuser enough pain for him to back off.
2.Hair Pins/Hair Slides: All these items are poking tools and are very easy on the pocket [prices are as low as Rs.1 per slide or less] and can be slipped into any purse. Unlike the ballpoint pen trick which can cause some serious damage, these little things will cause irritation and let a relatively less dangerous abuser know that you mean business. Poking someone does not take exceptional skill or strength so it can be executed by anyone.
3.Deodorant spray: Deodorant spray cans are available in a variety of sizes and are priced from Rs.100 and upwards for basic brands. They are suited for medium to large sized bags and are most beneficial as self-defense tools when placed in an easy-to-grab part of the bag such as an external water pouch or mobile phone section; dumping them in the main compartment does not make sense as it needs to be quickly accessible for use. Spraying the can in an abuser’s eyes will immediately cause them immense discomfort will give you enough time to run away [or hit them].
4.Keys – Any size key, if used to stab a perpetrator, will cause varying levels of discomfort. Women who have been trained to use their body strength effectively while stabbing, have occasionally stabbed perpetrators deep enough for them to require stitches. Contrary to holding them between your fingers, hold them as you would in order to open a door. It is recommended to hold keys and other potential poking/pointed objects while in isolated areas such as parking lots and dimly-lit streets.
5.Safety Pins: These handy pins are very inexpensive and can fit into a variety of bags. Using them to poke an eve-teaser while loudly calling him out for his behavior will draw attention to him and will certainly discourage him from trying to violate you. Keeping one discreetly pinned to your clothes while using mass public transport such as the subway, will make it even more accessible.
6.Nail file: The metal nail file is priced between Rs.12-20 and is an effective self-defense weapon. It is legal to carry them in handbags although some airlines do not permit them as hand baggage due to their potentially-dangerous nature. A jab with a nail file hurts a great deal, and it is a valuable, sturdy tool to carry around.
7.Tweezers: These hair- plucking tools, like the keys, safety pins and nail files, are handy for both personal grooming as well as for the purpose of discouraging someone who is trying to invade your personal space. They are affordable and available from Rs.20 onwards at general beauty supply stores.
8.Toothpicks: Toothpicks are among the most underrated and underused tools in this list. They do not cost a penny if you pick them up at a restaurant and keep them in your bag, their pointed ends do a little damage, not enough to cause grievous harm to an attacker, and they can be kept in a variety of differently-sized bags.
9.Foldable umbrella: An umbrella will at the very least, distract an offender. When folded, it can be used to hit the offender, and when open, can serve to distract him. Large sized ones will obviously do more damage. Prices are as per size and start from Rs.120.
10.Water bottle: A water bottle, regardless of size, can be used to hit a person, and in certain situations, the water itself can be thrown as a means of distraction. Prices start from Rs.12.
While we do not in any way condone the unwarranted use of violence against fellow human beings, we stand in solidarity with the millions of victims of violence who were subjected to horrific forms of abuse and torture. We support the need for women to protect themselves from this violence and torture, using tools and methods which are affordable, accessible, and easy to execute across all socio-economic differences. Be aware and be brave - and fearlessly defend yourself when the need arises.