Violent crimes against women have been hogging the headlines for years and things are not getting any better. Even though crime doesn’t discriminate gender, women are often the victims of sexual crimes.

In recent times, gender-based violence is a topic that has received increasing attention in the country and abroad. Femicide is a form of gender-based violence where women are murdered, usually by men, just because they are female, according to Stats SA Crimes against Women in South Africa, 2018 report.

Just recently we’ve witness countless young women losing their lives and making news reports. The recent assault of veteran actress and musician Abigail Kubeka is just one of those cases amongst many, some of which, go unreported.

Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women shared some tips on how women can better protect themselves against those who would wish to do them harm.

“Remember to always assess the risk of your situation so you can take precautionary measures ahead of time and listen to those instinctual feelings of uncertainty or distress. It’s not about living in fear, but rather understanding your circumstances, trusting yourself and making the right choices to keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women.

Here are some tips she shared.

AT HOME

- Look for potential weak points in your home security. All doors should be fitted with security gates, and windows should be secured with burglar bars.

- Ensure you have the best perimeter protection you can afford, such as high walling and electric fencing. Security systems such as beams and alarm systems are recommended to provide an early warning of a security breach. These systems should be backed up with armed response.

IN YOUR CAR

- Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target.

- Always let a friend, work colleague or family member know where you are, where you are going and when you have arrived at your destination.

- Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for anything suspicious.

- Limit distractions, such as checking or talking on your cellphone, when walking to or from your car.

- Avoid driving with windows open, keep the doors locked and put valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.

- If you suspect you are being followed, make a couple of false turns. If someone is still following you, drive to the nearest police station.

- Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to avoid being boxed in.

- Slow down in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach a traffic light, especially late at night. This prevents you from coming to a complete stop and reduces your risk of becoming a target.

- Always park in a safe, well-lit area.

- Many hijackings happen just as you are entering or leaving your home. Having a well-lit, shrub-free driveway and an electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) can help you get in and out safely. Use the remote to close the gate behind you, rather than waiting for the self-timer. This limits a criminal’s window of opportunity.

OUT AND ABOUT

- Watch what you drink, be mindful of how much you drink and don’t allow alcohol to cloud your judgement.

- Watch your drink. Be weary of drinking anything that you have not poured yourself or watched someone pour for you. Also, never leave your drink unattended. Drink-spiking is a reality.

- Stick with your crowd. There is safety in numbers so try to stick with a group of people you know.