Women safety tips: use pepper spray, photograph predators

Readers share tried and tested ways of staying safe
Aug 31, 2021

The number of rape, murder and abuse cases coming to light in Pakistan is leading to more and more conversations about keeping women safe.

We've learned that you can't outlive the fear you grow up with. Some women even they carry these traumatic memories with them to countries and cities far safer than Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad... In some of the safest places in the world they're still looking over their shoulder, locking their bedroom doors and on alert in public spaces.

Women and girls have been talking about this for a while now. Parents caution their daughters before dropping them off at school, tuitions, and cousins' houses. Sisters talk about this on their way to university, jobs, and shopping malls. Grandmothers warn their granddaughters before sending them off to madrassa, family dinners, and bazaars.

Here are some of the precautions women and girls take on a daily basis in Pakistan to keep themselves safe: 

P* 30, Communications Manager

M*, 29, Associate director at a digital agency

H*, 38, Homemaker

S*, 19 , Student.
T*, 29, Senior Science Educator.
F*,31, Student.
A*, 29, Journalist.

*Names have been withheld to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals.

How to make homemade pepper spray

You can make pepper spray at home (watch this video). Use gloves and wear glasses while making it.

You need:
Red chili flakes
Red pepper powder (lal mirch)
Black pepper powder
Vinegar (sirqa)

Add all the dry powders together. You need about equal quantities (4 tablespoons makes a small bottle). Add the vinegar that helps preserve the concoction. Add the oil which helps the spray stick to the attacker. Then put the mixture in a spray bottle. Use only for self-defence.

Harassment in Pakistan

The Punjab Police has a 'Women safety app' worth checking out. It is connected to agencies such as Rescue, Motorway Police and Punjab Highway Patrol. There are plenty of reviews of women who have used it on the Google play store.

If you or anyone you know is a survivor of online harassment, then you can contact the following organisations:

Punjab Commission on the Status of Women: 1043
FIA cybercrime wing. Report the complaint at [email protected] or [email protected]
Madadgaar Toll-Free Helpline: 1098
Digital Rights Foundation’s Cyber Harassment Toll-Free Helpline: 0800-39393
Sahil Toll-Free helpline: 0800-13518
Pakistan Citizens portal

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