Ways for a Woman to Stay Safe at a Party

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Parties and get-togethers are part of every socially active girl’s calendar. While there are intermittent reports of women being drugged and raped, it does not mean that one should stop socializing or going out. Instead women can take certain measures to stay safe, even when they are having fun at a party.

Keep others informed

You can take steps to stay safe even before arriving at the party - when you leave for the venue, inform your partner, flat-mates, friends or trusted neighbors where you are going and what time you expect to be back. If you are in your teens, it is imperative that your parents know where the party is and with who you are going. That way if something untoward happens, you know that there will someone to raise an alarm and look for you.

Take your own car

Just like for a first date, it is best you take your own car to the party – that way you can leave any time you want, especially if you feel that things are getting out of hand at the party and you wish to return home to safety. Arriving in your own car also means that you are not dependent on the availability of cabs, especially if it is a late hour and you are in an unfamiliar part of town. Also carry money, a phone card, or a cell phone in case you need to make an emergency phone call. Don't forget to keep emergency numbers and the phone number of a taxi service in your wallet or backpack or program them into your cell phone.

Stay in a group

If you are not taking your own car, you can still stay reasonably safe if going to party in a group. A woman who is on her own is more likely to be noticed by a predator than someone who is part of a larger group. There is safety in numbers and this applies to socializing as well. If you are not going out in a group, try and use the buddy system. This means going out with a friend so that each of you can watch out for the other throughout the night, so that nothing can happen without someone knowing about it.

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Stay away from drugs

The importance of saying no to drugs at a party cannot be emphasized enough – even if someone insists that ‘it’ is harmless or only for fun, always bear in mind that drugs by their very nature cannot be without any effect. In fact, you’re more likely to be offered alcohol or drugs by a friend than a stranger but always keep in mind that it’s okay to say ‘no’ to friends. Many people are focused on themselves, so they won’t be as worried about what you’re doing as you may think. And if they insist, calmly refuse by saying you are training for a sports competition and wish to make the team. Alternately simply say no and walk away, without getting into any arguments about why and why not. If you are a teen, you might be worried about not being “cool” if you don’t try drugs or alcohol, but you can start a different, more real kind of “cool” by being looked up to as someone who makes confident choices for her own good and not to suck up to someone else’s notion of what is and is not hip.

Go easy on the alcohol

Ideally it is best to stay away from alcohol at a party. However if you wish to get into the mood of things, ensure that there is someone to drop you home but who is also trustworthy. Many friends going to a party these days usually have a designated driver for the evening who stays away from alcohol and sees each one home. On the other hand if you are banking on your own transport, keep in mind that all states impose penalties for driving with a Breath Alcohol Content greater than 0.08, while some, such as Colorado, impose criminal penalties above 0.05 too. If you are under 21, you can be held to even stricter standards under zero tolerance laws. Since there’s no foolproof way of knowing how much you can drink and then still drive safely, the safest option is not to drink any alcohol if you plan to drive.

If you need still another reason to say no to alcohol, consider the fact that it is easiest to slip date rape drugs into drinks.  Such drugs often have no smell or taste and can be given to you without you knowing at parties or in a club. The effect of the drug is to make a person’s responses sluggish so that she may not be able to say "no" to unwanted sex and may not even be able to clearly remember what happened. So  if you must drink at a party, order your own drink and open it yourself or at least have the bartender do it in front of you. Also never leave your drink unattended and keep it with you at all times. Likewise, don't accept a drink from a stranger without knowing its source firsthand.

At the end of the party

Most women are vulnerable to predators while leaving a party; ensure that you do not leave with a stranger or even familiar people who are drunk or have been doing drugs. Don’t get into a car with someone visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs. Instead call for a taxi if you have not brought your own car.

Make safety part of your lifestyle

Instead of practicing safety just before a party or while going out, it would help a lot if you made it a way of life. Browse through classifieds and local resources to find out what self-defense classes are being held in your town. Your local police department or school might offer classes that can teach you how to protect yourself and how to handle uncomfortable situations. Keep a pepper spray in your handbag to use when necessary. Thinking ahead and planning for your safety will not only help you have fun responsibly but also leave you feeling powerful and confident at all times.