As I’m finishing up here at Virginia Tech, I spend half my time frantically writing my dissertation, and half my time spiraling about where in the world my job search will ultimately deliver me. I love moving, and I love change. I frequently slip into daydreams of me sashaying around my new city in a fabulous outfit and perfect lipstick. Then I remember the last time I did that, I was a naive 21-year-old living in Milwaukee, drunk on massive amounts of cheese and cheap beer. To be fair, I always traveled in groups and on bike. I figured I could speed away from any attacker, and my U-lock would be a suitable weapon. There were frequent stabbings, shootings, and more than a few rapes in my neighborhood and I can’t believe how lucky I was coming home on so many late nights. When I walk down the street of my new home with my new job, I want to feel empowered and in control of my surroundings. I don’t want to be afraid when I step outside, or when I’m alone in an elevator with a stranger. I want the freedom to maintain my confidence and poise. To me, this what equality feels like.
So, this lead me down a Google wormhole to up my street game and defense strategy. I’ve never had the patience for self-defense classes, and guns aren’t my thing. I wanted to find the non-lethal weapons that were legal, light-weight, compact, affordable, and effective in any confrontation. Writing this article was so much fun, and I encourage ya’ll to do a similar search. Below is a list of weapons that today’s savvy women prefer most!
A non-lethal chemical self-defense weapon that, when in contact with the eyes, skin, or nasal passages causes irritation, burning pain, swollen eyelids, temporary blindness and difficulty breathing. Effects can last longer than 20 minutes and affect everyone regardless of size. The active ingredient in pepper (OC) spray is oleoresin capsicum (OC), the same chemical that is found in spicy chili peppers. This is my favorite in the list in terms of cost, effectiveness, range of use.
- Powerful, easy to use and compact.
- CHEAP! The highly rated Sabre Red police strength compact spray runs at only $10 a pop.
- Can deploy from a distance.
- Effects last for 20-30 minutes, giving you ample time to escape from your attacker.
- Can be purchased in gel form (performs in windy/rainy weather) and even with UV dye to help police ID the predator.
- If used in close quarters, you may experience spray effects.
- Victim needs to have somewhat accurate aim to hit the attacker’s face.
- The spray form does not perform well in rainy or windy weather.
- Not legal in all states. Some states require a license to carry, have size restrictions, and most do not sell to people under 18.
- Shelf-life of 4 years at most.
Stun guns use an extremely high voltage shock to cause involuntary muscle contraction and extreme pain in anyone who touches it.
- Compact, powerful and easy to use.
- Works well in very close proximity.
- Can target any part of the attacker’s body.
- Legal to purchase and carry in all states.
- Cheap! Most models like this VIPERTEK stun gun run from $10-$15.
- Effects on attacker are only momentary.
- Must be close to your attacker to use.
- Must be charged regularly or shock looses power.
These are hard, blunt, and slightly sharp tools used in self-defense. These weapons require a considerable amount of force to fend off a larger attacker, so they may not be the best choice for everybody.
- Don’t need to be recharged, don’t expire.
- Easy to carry on your keys, and won’t accidentally deploy like pepper spray could.
- Made with aluminum, which makes for a sturdy but light weapon.
- Precision tip concentrates your force to a single point.
- Can only be used in close proximity to attacker
- Victim can be overpowered, and lose control of weapon.
- Effectiveness relies on strength and accuracy of victim.