I have always wanted to feature stories about how women can survive in this world. I always look forward to reading about safety hacks from the bloggers I follow and I try as much as possible to implement these hacks. Debs of Debswritesblog is a personal fave and I just love how she manages to talk about these strategies and infuse her experiences into them. When I sought content from my friend, Taofeeqah, and she sent the below in, you guys can imagine my delight. Please read:
From my teenage years, I have been super conscious about my safety. Aren’t we all?
I mean, why should I feel so unsafe every single moment of my life?
Why do I have to always look over my shoulders?
Why do I have to keep myself safe twice as much as a man would?
Growing up, my sister and I were not sent on errands after 7pm; my brothers and male cousins would go instead. Of course, the guys will use it as an opportunity to go have fun elsewhere, while we felt “caged”.
Thus, it became a concern when I had to attend extra classes after school. Classes closed by 8pm, and even though I would be in company of my cousin(male), I still sought to keep myself safe. I had seen and read about how unsafe it is to be a girl in this nation. I bought me a pen knife (my parents do not know till this day). Thankfully, there was no need to use it.
During my 5-year sojourn at the University, I lived alone, and I had to devise extra measures in ensuring my safety. My alma mater is in one of the places plagued with community and student crises, coupled with incessant cult activities. I would place axes and shovels at the back of the main door, hammer and knife on the window sill. I would keep Devil Beans “werepe” in the passage. I started wearing jeans and sneakers to school because there may be times I would need to take to my heels.
I became very alert; I would use my ear piece (without playing music) as a disguise while walking on the road, I would use my eyes to look at things happening at back without having to turn around. I would wear sunshades in unfamiliar places in order to have a first-hand scan of the people and surrounding without having anyone see me as a weirdo. I created a curfew time for myself, and even though I had no one to reprimand me, I became my own disciplinarian. I set rules for myself and I ensure I take to them regularly. Some call me Miss Prim and Proper, others call me Margret Thatcher. But truth is, many a people do not know the difference between being strict and firm and being harsh or cruel. sighs
I started living alone recently, and to live in Lagos as a single girl is likened to an extreme sport. I have a fork in every bag I own, and I also got a pepper spray. My line manager bought a taser for my use, but I think fear would not allow me get to using it. I carry forks at day, and pepper spray at night time. You wouldn’t believe but my fork came in handy one day.
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On this day, I was the last to enter the bus from Ojota to Maryland, so I was sitting at the edge of the bus. The conductor hung by the bus entrance and we began the journey. At first, I thought I was imagining it, then I moved by body forward, then this man moved his kini forward with me as well. I needed to be sure I wasn’t imagining things, so I shifted backwards again, and this man shifted with his kini towards my arms. To say I was disgusted was beyond understatement. My precious fork will be put to use today, I thought. I brought out the fork and tapped him with it on his thigh and used a mellow and cold voice to tell him ti kini yin ba tun kanmi lara, moma gun yin ni fork yi (if your penis touches my arm again, I’d stab you with this fork). He was speechless!
I believe we need to take charge of our safety since the environment or society is doing very little to ensure this
I am interested in setting up defense and survival skill (swimming, karate, judo) classes for girls (incorporated into the curriculum), especially from age 5. I am also welcoming of ideas and people who would like to partner with me on this.
Have you felt unsafe in your environment before? What has been your safety strategy? Let’s discuss.