Human rights organizations inevitably report higher instances of sexual assault and attacks on women after disasters. With the interruption of law and order, predators will be emboldened. If you are a woman, or if you have women with you, especially younger women, steps will need to be taken to protect them from the elevated threat level. The best ways to protect yourself from a potentially stronger opponent are to go unseen, unnoticed, or to present a hard target. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
If you are sheltering in place it would be a good idea to only send the men in the group outside. If the women have to go out, they should remain close to home, in groups, and stay alert.
If you are forced to travel, or operate outside for extended periods, you will need to conceal all feminine features. Long hair is one of the greatest indicators of gender, all women should cut their hair short in a disaster. Women’s clothing is often designed to extenuate a woman’s breasts, hips, neck, and legs. These features can be spotted from a distance and will draw unwanted, and even deadly attention. For this reason, you should include in your survival supplies men’s clothing for the women in your family. Wearing a hat with short hair, a collared shirt to visually reduce the feminine neckline, a sports bra, men’s pants and boots will greatly reduce the ability for anyone to determine gender at a distance and make it more difficult even at close range.
It will not always be possible, even with the above steps to completely conceal gender, and not all threats will come from sexual predators. For these reasons it is important to present a hard target when in the open. Do not conceal your weapons. Do not advertise weakness by doing things like repeatedly wiping sweat away, verbally complaining about pain or discomfort, or show confusion. If you are being watched by someone that is considering an attack, showing these things to them will tell them that they have a high likelihood of success. On the other hand if you are walking with your weapon ready in hand, communicating with hand signals, and always looking for potential danger you will look like a dangerous or hard target and deter potential attacks.
The threats that are faced by women today in an ordered society are only a small fraction of what they face in areas that are without law and order after any manner of disaster has stuck. Prepare now, with gear, and psychologically so that you and the women in your family are not victims.