I can still hear my mom’s voice as I headed off to Purdue University for my freshman year of college. “Do

not walk alone at night on campus.” “If your class goes too late, call me and I’ll talk to you until you get to your dorm.” “Did you remember to bring your pepper spray?” (She bought me 4 cans – one to keep in my car, and I was to disperse the others amongst my purses.)

As a female, walking alone at night or even during the day is something that we’re often warned about. However, it’s inevitable. Whether you’re walking home from a party, heading to class, or going to work, you’re going to walk alone at some point in your life.

If you’re like me and often forget to pack one of the many pepper spray cans your mom got you, there are still other things you can use to protect yourself.

We’ve collected a list:

  1. Keys

Car keys or dorm keys, it doesn’t really matter. Put the key in between your fingers like Wolverine and you are set. Sometimes, if I’m walking alone to my car, I do this just in case. Stab the attacker in the eye and run. Can’t imagine that would feel good…     


  1. High Heel

If you happen to be coming from the bars and plan on walking home alone in the dark; don’t. But, if you don’t take my advice, take it here: Take your heels off in case you need to run. Let’s be honest, you’ve never seen Usain Bolt break any records in a pair of stilettos. Plus, if you have a high heel in your hand and someone does try and attack, you can strike them using the sharp heel.


  1. Purse

Unless you’re using one of our really awesome phone wallets, chances are you have a purse on you. Your purse can be used to strike an attacker and give you some time to run.


  1. Hair Spray

Alright, so you probably can’t fit this into your crossbody, but if you’re walking to and from class, you could definitely put a travel-sized hairspray can in your backpack or tote. First, it will come in handy for those long days of class or day at work when you need a quick touch up. But, it will also double as a self-defense mechanism. All you need to do is use your hairspray like pepper spray. Spray your attacker in the eyes and run. Think about some the ingredients in hairspray:

    • PVP (Polyvinylpurrolidone) This is a polymer that has an abundance of uses. But, it’s often used in hairspray, as an adhesive agent in glue, or a thickening agent in toothpaste.
    • Alcohol
  • Hydracarbons (Think methane, ethane and propane)

Now, I’m no Marie Curie and have always been mediocre at science, but I can tell you that you do not want that sprayed in your eyeballs.


  1. Smart Phone

We all know you’re lying if you say that you don’t have a phone or carry it to class. So, do us a favor and save us the time! But, a phone can save you in so many different ways if you are being followed or someone tries to attack you.

Call Someone:

  • The most obvious thing you can do is call for help if you have time or if you just feel unsafe. As I mentioned above, I often used my phone to talk on the phone with my mom or a friend if I was walking home from class; even during the day. If I can’t get ahold of someone, I will often fake a phone call if I’m feeling uncomfortable. I’m already great at talking to myself, so it has never been a challenge to talk to myself on the phone.


As a Defense Weapon:

  • Did you know that you can smash someone in the face with your cell phone? Alright, so iPhones may seem to crack even if you gently place it on your pillow, but they’re actually pretty strong. Have you ever heard the “heel of your hand” trick to strike an attacker in the nose? Well, this is the exact same thing, but using your cell. You thrust in and up when hitting an attacker in the nose.

But I don’t want to break my phone! If you’re questioning whether or not your life is worth less than your $800 phone, we need to talk!



If you do not have a smartphone, this will be irrelevant to you, so move on! But, did you know that there are a bajillion apps that are made or are currently being made to help you protect yourself? How cool is that? Just to name a few….

      • bSafe
      • StaySafe
      • Watch Over Me
    • React
  1. Pen

I may only be a 90’s kid and love technology as much as the next person, but I still do cherish a good, “old-fashioned” pen. While I know that they’re becoming extinct – (i.a. signing your bill on tablets, laptops being provided by schools for note-taking, and e-mails/texts over handwritten letters) I still cherish that lost art of handwritten notes. I took almost all of my notes in college in a notebook. If you are like me and do carry a pen or two in your bag, you can absolutely use it. You can use this to stab an attacker in the eye, just like the keys.


Obviously, there are many other ways to protect yourself. There are things you can purchase, your bare hands, and preventative measures (don’t walk alone). But, if there ever comes a time when you are feeling uncomfortable or needing a way to protect yourself, look to your bag. You will be like the self-defense Mary Poppins!


Have any other ideas of items that could be used to protect yourself? Let us know in the comments.