Jasmine Trapnell gives her top tips for staying safe at night now that it’s getting dark so early!

Many of us have experienced a nervous walk home, by ourselves, in the dark. With it getting dark as early as 4pm now, it is common to feel apprehensive about having to walk somewhere alone. It is not a victim’s fault if they are attacked, stalked, or made to feel uncomfortable – but this article will provide some tips on how you can keep yourself and your friends safer.

My first piece of advice – which may seem obvious – is to let people know where you are going, whether that is your family, housemates, friends, or partner. It is simple, but if they are expecting you to be back after a certain amount of time and you are not, they can easily check in with you.

To improve on this, downloading apps such as Life360, Famisafe, or Find my Phone can provide safety for yourself, friends and family. These apps allow you to share your location with selected people, with most apps also allowing you to turn off your location if you do not want to share it with your friends/family all the time.

Walking anywhere is much more enjoyable listening to music; however, this can distract you from your surroundings. Instead of switching off your music completely, try having just one earphone in or lowering the volume. Similarly, having your phone out can distract you and make you a potential target of theft.

If possible, try to walk in well-lit areas and avoid typically suspicious areas such as underpasses. When walking to/from university or work, we can often take the same route, but occasionally changing the route you take can provide some safety.

My go-to when I feel unsafe walking home – whether that be because it is particularly dark or someone might be following me – is to call someone I trust. Calling someone not only provides you with reassurance, but it could also deter anyone from approaching you. If you do not feel comfortable calling a family member, friend or partner, there are many organisations you can call instead:

  • Strut Safe: 0333 3350026
  • Loughborough Nightline: 01509 227650 (Wednesday & Friday 8pm-8am)
  • Loughborough University Security Control Room: 01509 222141
  • Loughborough University Security Emergency: 0800 526966
  • If you live in halls, you can also call your hall warden

If you unfortunately ever find yourself in the worst-case scenario, where someone is attacking you, it is useful to know some self-defence tips. It would be ideal to take a self-defence class – however, not everyone can afford this due to time and/or money. If a male is attacking you, the most commonly known tactic is to kick or knee them in the testicular area – this should cause them to lean forwards in pain so you can hopefully run away. Another form of self-defence which is often reiterated to young women, is to hold your keys between your dominant hands’ fingers (ready to punch). This is a legal alternative to ‘weapons’ such as pepper spray that you can use to protect yourself if you are being attacked – but should strictly only ever be used in self-defence.

When you are in a situation where you are unable to physically do anything to aid your getting away, shout FIRE. Many people, unfortunately, will ignore someone in distress due to fear of what may happen to them. By shouting fire instead of help or rape, more people’s attention will be drawn to your situation, and then they will hopefully come to help.

Whilst we all wish knowing safety tips were not necessary – it unfortunately is. We never know when we may be in a situation where we need to help ourselves or someone else get out of a dangerous situation – but this should not stop us from going out when we want and having fun. Saving phone numbers like the ones mentioned earlier can help provide comfort and safety if ever needed. Staying safe is not as easy as it should be, but if we all look out for one another, hopefully, we can make a difference.

Edited by Caitlin Phillips (Lifestyle Editor)

Header Designed by Sarim Mangi (Head Of Design)


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