THAC Logo Transgender Health Action Coalition


Washington West Project
1201 Locust Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
email: thac@critpath.org

Personal Safety



Violence and harassment are real

Nobody is immune

NOBODY



Learn to recognize potential problems and warning signs in your daily routine. Not every attack can be prevented but there are things you can do reduce your risk. Your primary consideration should be your personal survival. Here are a few safety tips that may help:

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STAY ALERT

Awareness is your best self-defense; know what is happening around you. Be especially careful if you are alone or drunk. You must avoid being a victim by staying alert. The same principles of defensive driving should be used when walking or going about your daily activities. Look for potential problems. Be prepared to react to them.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

Don't assume a false sense of security because you are either surrounded by people or in a remote area. If you think something is wrong, remove yourself from the situation. Trust your gut -- if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

WHEN WALKING, PLAN THE SAFEST AND MOST DIRECT ROUTE

Evaluate and be aware of your surroundings. Use well-lit streets. Keep a safe distance between you and others, and always have an out (somewhere you can turn to run if you feel threatened.) If you feel uneasy, trust your instincts and go directly to a place where there are other people.

PROJECT CONFIDENCE

Walk as if you know where you're going. Walk in a confident manner, and hold your head up. Keep your hands free and keep them chest high in crowds.

CARRY A WHISTLE

If you feel threatened, blow your whistle, bang garbage cans, honk your horn, or shout "fire!" to attract attention. Only wear things around your neck that will break free if some one grabs them on the run.

HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED READY

Hold your keys when going to and from your car, home and business. This will save time and give you some security in having protection. Any device you carry for protection may be used AGAINST you. Select security devices carefully.

IF YOU FEEL THREATENED

Cross the street, change direction, run to a place where there are other people, or walk closer to traffic. Step out in the street on the other side of parked cars. Be alert when some one moves into your space, that three foot radius around you.

IF YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED IN A CAR, TURN AROUND AND WALK QUICKLY IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION

Get the license plate number and a description, if possible.

IF YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED ON FOOT, TURN AROUND TO LET THE PERSON KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SEEN THEM

Immediately cross the street or run toward a place where a number of people will be.

IF YOU DECIDE TO BRING SOMEONE HOME

Introduce her or him to a friend, acquaintance or bartender so that someone knows who you left with. (Check out our Safer Dating Tips.)

WHEN DRIVING A FRIEND HOME, WAIT FOR A SIGNAL THAT THE FRIEND IS IN THE HOME AND SAFE BEFORE DRIVING AWAY

Develop a signal that involves more than simply turning a light on. A more complex signal, like turning the light on and off three times, will be distinct and make potential danger clear.

IF A STRANGER IS AT YOUR DOOR, DO NOT GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE HOME ALONE

Shout over your shoulder, or indicate in some way, that there is another person present.

DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO STRANGERS WITHOUT VERIFYING THEIR IDENTITY

Make strangers show you a picture ID and make police officers show you formal identification.

DO NOT GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE OR TO "WRONG NUMBER" CALLERS

Instruct children, visitors, and/or extended family members to do the same.

DO NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE INTERNET

(Check out NYCAVP's online safety tips.)

REPORT INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE OR HARASSMENT

If you don't report what happens, we won't be able to stop it from continuing.

REMEMBER: ANYTIME YOU ARE HARASSED, THREATENED, OR ASSAULTED, REPORT IT!

Safer Dating Tips


  • Find out who your date is.


  • Ask for your date's first and last name, where they work and live, and what they like and don't like.


  • Ask around to see if anyone knows the person.

    Introduce your date to others (e.g., your friends, the bartender.)


  • Tell a friend where you're going, or call your own answering machine as if you were calling a friend.


  • Make sure your date knows you spread the word about them.


  • Choose public places, such as malls or restaurants, for first meetings.


  • Get/mix your own drinks: There may be a reason a person insists on getting or mixing you a drink. Getting your drunk or giving you "knockout drops" is an easy way to cloud your judgement.


  • Protect your valuables. Don't carry extra cash.


  • If you bring someone home, don't leave your wallet, cash, or valuables in sight. Your possessions -- and the person you brought home -- could all be gone while you're in the shower or asleep.


Thanks to LAMBDA and The New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project for the safety tips.
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