Better safe than sorry

Compiled by Joanne Lim

WITH the recent spate of publicity on abduction and rape cases, pepper sprays are being snapped up at pharmacies while self-defence classes are gaining popularity.  

Parents are worried about their children’s safety, advising their daughters to stay indoors, always carry a pair of scissors, and never walk alone.  

This week, TeenSpeak finds out how teenagers feel about their safety and security in public places and the precautions they take to protect themselves. 

Banupriya Narainasamy

I think public places are not safe, especially for girls my age. It is best to go out in a group because there are so many sex maniacs out there. If my friends are not with me, I will stay in the tuition centre until my mother comes. Mom doesn’t allow me to go anywhere by myself, so I have to go with friends and bring along a phone. Christine Kon, 16 

First of all, you should know how to defend yourself. When you go to secluded places, don’t go alone because you’re definitely inviting trouble. Going by taxi is very dangerous because you don’t know the driver and he can do anything to you. If anyone follows you, ignore him. If they are really out to get you, run! – Banupriya Narainasamy, 16 

Girls should learn any sort of self-defence and be equipped with a pepper spray. And guys should have self-control. But sometimes girls ask for it.  

Nur Arina Yazid

A girl approached my (guy) friend the other day, wanting to “do it” with him, but he ran away. How do you help girls like that? Mohd Farid Mohd Ariffin, 15 

I was in London two years ago, and I noticed that they had security guards looking out for schoolchildren; basically making sure there were no suspicious characters lurking around.  

We should have that in Malaysia. I believe that improves security, although it will not be able to eliminate all dangers.  

Adrian Mark

My parents are planning to enrol me for taekwondo class. – Nur Arina Yazid, 15  

I have seen women walking along the road and guys on motorcycles disturbing them, wolf whistling, and teasing them, saying: “How are you? You’re looking hot.” These are the people girls should stay away from.  

In general, all women are helpless; what can they possibly do alone? Only passers-by can help, but unfortunately they don’t. Adrian Mark, 16 

Girls should limit the amount of time they spend outdoors. Going out late at night is dangerous, or in the afternoons when it’s usually very quiet. They should also restrain themselves and not mingle too much with men they don’t know.  

If you think you can be a target, then bring along a knife or a pepper spray. And men should learn how to control their sexual urges. Actually guys are also at risk. I can fall victim to a robber anytime and my only defence is to fight back. Muhd Ali Mohd Malek, 16 

I have ceased to frequent shopping malls or my usual hang-outs, like the mamak stalls, or going clubbing. It’s better to be on the safe side than go ahead and attract unnecessary harm or danger.  

My friends and I have found a different pastime, which is to hang out at each other’s houses. We surf the Internet and watch movies at home. Whatever it is, it’s still safer to stay indoors. Elizabeth Lee, 14 

It’s scary to hear about all the kidnap and rape cases happening nowadays, especially since I am a girl. I don’t carry any weapons but I will be enrolling in a taekwondo class soon.  

Sometimes I notice men staring at me and I panic, and when they start following me, I run away. – Indrani Rajarathanam, 16 

I have taken up taekwondo classes for self-defence. I think it’s useful, especially when you are faced with such scenarios. Should the need arise, I hope I will be able to apply what I have learnt.  

I pray that those horrible people out there who enjoy hurting people will be punished. Innocent people are being killed brutally for no reason at all. – Norazita Ismail, 16 

It’s very scary to even step out of the house. I use my water bottle to protect myself and I always ensure there’s a pair of scissors in my bag. My parents are constantly advising me to be careful and walk in places where there are people, or else I should be accompanied by friends. Girls should be aware of their surroundings and be always prepared to defend themselves. – Ho Sook May, 16 

After tuition class one day, I noticed someone following me from behind. I immediately ran into a nearby shop. Thank goodness it was still open and there were people inside. I stayed in there until my mother came. I think that move saved me.  

Always walk in a group of three or more people. If you have to walk alone, carry a knife or a pair of scissors. If you sense any danger, look around for a police station or a 7-Eleven if it’s late. Stay there for a few hours. A stalker can’t do anything when there are people around. – Nor Hana Nor Rashid, 15 

When I go out at night, I bring along my brother or sister as a chaperon. To protect yourself, avoid bad company. Don’t get involved in drugs or drinking, or going clubbing. Don’t stay out late. Take these measures and you won’t be courting unnecessary danger. – Zarina Abdullah, 15 

My father got me a pepper spray immediately after reading about the Canny Ong incident. It’s in the form of a keychain, which is very handy. At first I thought he was over-reacting, but now I understand why. 

Nowadays when I go out, I am more alert; making sure no one suspicious is following me. I try never to go anywhere alone, even to the “ladies”. – Lee Sook Fen, 17 

Wear rings on your fingers and use them as weapons. I will use my black belt taekwondo skills to defend myself. Hopefully, I will be able to put it to use and fight back. To avoid all this, it is best not to spend too much time loafing in public places. – Hanis Nadia Yahya, 15 

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