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Staying Safe

Most men don’t realise the day-to-day concerns that women have. We’re talking safety here, folks – the habits, attitudes and precautions girls grow up learning and that boys never seem to have to. While we may understand on some level, few of us have the ingrained habits and instincts that women develop over many years.

Regardless of why this is so, men and women play by different rules. As crossdressers, we must learn a new set of safety habits. This is true whether you pass or not. If you don’t pass, you may get harassed because you look like an ugly guy in a dress. If you do pass well, you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory again!

This section of our site presents articles on how to keep yourself out of trouble, whether you’re a woman or just dressing the part.

by Joy

This page is adapted from an artcle that first appeared in The Cornbury News, January 2002. For more information on the course presented, please email Suzanne Adams at.


Suzanne Adams (from Emerald City of Seattle) came to tell us why we needed to know about this and then what we needed to know. She gave a most enjoyable talk – being funny and humorous at times and serious when she needed to be and I’m sure that everybody there enjoyed and benefited from her talk.

Suzanne gave a brief history of herself. She has known since she was 3 years old that she was a girl. Her first career was as a police officer, eventually rising to the position of Chief of Police. After retiring from the police force, she became quite involved in the transgender community and is currently President of Emerald City and on the board of Ingersoll in Seattle. She is still active in police work, in a consulting role on gender issues.

The most important thing that I learned was the reason why we needed to hear about this. As men, we have had no lifetime of growing up as the “weaker sex” and absolutely no idea of how women live their life when out of their homes. When leaving a building at night we don’t check outside to make sure that it is safe to leave; we aren’t concerned if we’ve parked our car in a dark place; we don’t make sure that we have our keys to the car in hand well before we get to our car and many other things.

What each of us needs to realise is that when we are dressed, we are presenting ourselves to the world as women and, while we know what is going on, those we meet do NOT! At least, at first glance.


Suzanne told us there are two parts to self defence. By far, the most important, is avoidance. In other words, do all you can to avoid being confronted.

Don’t act like a victim: walk with your head up, make eye contact with those that you meet and look confident. This is most important for crossdressers who tend, at least at first, to avoid anything and everything that might give us away. Show confidence and always travel with companions.

Check the area: When leaving a building, specially at night, make sure that it is safe to leave before going through the door – check the area outside the door and if there’s a group of people there, wait until they move off. Always leave in a group.

Carry your keys: Make sure that you have your car keys in your hand before going through the door. Don’t wait until you’re at your car and then start digging through your purse to find those elusive keys which have moved to the bottom of your purse.

Carry your keys in your weaker hand with the ignition key placed between the 2nd and 3rd fingers, facing out. This leaves your dominant hand free for any self defence action that might be necessary.

Check your car: When approaching your car, check the back seat to make sure that it is as you left it. Use the car windows as mirrors to see behind you. When Suzanne mentioned this, I said “why? My car is locked and alarmed!”. She said, “I can get in your car in 15 seconds and when was the last time you saw someone move to a car whose alarm was on?” Oh (:

If you feel that you are being followed to your car, get in on the passenger side which shows that you are expecting someone else to arrive.

Deflect attention: Sometimes, some of us like to dress somewhat provocatively. She wasn’t suggesting that you don’t but if you are going out, then wear a long coat. Remember, provocative dressing works whether you’re a female or a male looking like a female!

Avoid remote areas. The #1 trouble spot is an airport parking lot. Not far behind are parkades in malls. If you come across someone breaking into any car, GET AWAY and go for help.

Check your cab: Make sure that the taxi you are about to get into is a legal taxi! There are people who pose as taxi drivers who pick up calls meant for the legal taxi.

Deflect attention: If a male “comes on to you” DO NOT lead him on, no matter how flattered you feel – the time to say NO is right now. Even after accepting the first drink is too late. In other words, don’t let them get to first base.

Check the elevator: When waiting for an elevator, do not stand directly in front of the doors but stand off to the side. Check it out before getting in. If someone gets in and you feel threatened, get off.

So, you’ve done all that and still you’re concerned that a threatening situation might develop. Think about how you might diffuse it.

Suzanne told a story about when she and a few others were walking past a parking lot to get to a restaurant. A number of drunken men were meandering in the parking lot and they appeared threatening. Turns out all they wanted was some money for parking and by just giving them what they wanted removed the threat.

Be nice – be gratuitous.

Any time that you can diffuse what appears to be a threatening situation is a win.

When All Else Fails…

Sometimes, your best efforts fail. When this happens, watch their hands. If they have a weapon, then you’re clearly in trouble. Otherwise, try to predict what they are prepared to do.

If they grab your wrist, it is quite easy to extricate yourself from this grasp: move your arm in the direction which takes it through their thumb and forefinger. Note that your arm is thicker in one direction than the other – if that is how they grabbed you, twist your arm before pulling away. Practice this with your spouse, SO, or friend.

If they grab you around your neck, then put your hands together and move them rapidly up between their arms. Again, this is directing your force towards their weakest point – the thumb.

If they grab you from behind then your elbow is the best defence. Don’t just use your arm – use your entire body in directing your elbow into their solar plexus.

Once away, yell – screaming is better but it seems this is only available to true females 🙂 and then run like hell.

You Are Vulnerable When…

  • you are older
  • you are drunk
  • you are disoriented (for example, in a place you’ve never been before)
  • you have no money (make sure you have a plan if you lose your purse!)


I found this talk extremely interesting as it pointed out dangerous situations that I would never have considered dangerous. But even more interesting was that the two females present agreed with everything Suzanne said which reinforced her suggestions.

It seems to me (now) that such a course is valuable for ALL males just so they understand what their Significant Others are required to endure. There is no question that it is really important for all crossdressers.

womandriveSafety Tips for Women While Driving

Adapted from the “Safety at Work” poster, published by the BC Ministry for Women’s Equality. Published in this form in The Cornbury News, November 1999.

As with many such articles, it is primarily written for women but has great value for those who simply appear to be women. We offer it as a service to all our readers.

Do not identify your keys with car plate numbers or name and address.

Carry personal safety alarms on your key chain. They will help attract attention if you are attacked.

Keep your car in good repair, the gas tank at least half full, and always check the tires.

Park in well-lit spaces. Walk with others after dark.

If you use underground parkades, make sure you park near the attendant or exit.

Always lock your car and keep all the windows tightly closed.

Have your key ready, check inside the car to e sure no-one is hiding.

Don’t open your car window more than one inch to speak to someone approaching your car. Just drive away if you feel uncomfortable.

If you suspect another car is following you, do not go home. Drive to a service/police/fire station and stay in your car, honking the horn in short repeated blasts until someone comes out to help you.

This article is in wide circulation on the Internet, but I have never found an attribution to an author. As with many such articles, it is primarily written for women but has great value for those who simply appear or aspire to be women. We offer it as a service to all our readers.

A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing. They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m. The number one place women are abducted from/attacked at is grocery store parking lots. Number two is office parking lots/garages.

Number three is public restrooms. The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught. Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years. If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming. These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

Several defense mechanisms he taught us are:

If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk, I can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now you’ve seen their face and could identify them in a lineup, you lose appeal as a target.

If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used he underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands – the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it hurts.

After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is really painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there. When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel a little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

The information contained on these pages has been gathered from years of police work as well as extensive research in the field of crime prevention. How you keep yourselves, people you care about and property safe can be solved most of the time by remembering that you need three things for a crime to occur. First the Victim, secondly the Suspect, and finally the Opportunity. If you take away one of those ingredients you will not become another victim. It is a very simple concept.

“An ounce of prevention…”

Compiled by Constable Tim Fanning
Stephanie Ortlepp
Keith Boland
Dave Morgan

General Tips

  • Bring a cell phone along if you have one. This way you can always call for help without having to look for a phone.
  • Stay alert, stand tall and be confident. Attackers are more likely to molest a person who appears uncertain or afraid.
  • Carry cash and valuables in a front or inside pocket to reduce the attraction for muggers. If you do need to carry a purse or bag of some sort, consider using a fanny pack.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash, but if you have to, be discreet about it.
  • If you wish to give someone spare change, never pull out your wallet or open your purse, take change out of your pocket instead.
  • Use well-lit streets, stay to the middle of the sidewalk and avoid alleyways.
  • Approach shadowy doorways, shrubbery, or anything that someone could hide behind with extra caution.
  • If you feel uneasy walking alone, find someone you know who will go out with you, or plan your route along busy streets so that there are always people around you.
  • If you think someone is following you, cross the street and turn to walk in the opposite direction to get a good look at them and then go find the nearest place to alert the authorities.
  • If you think a car is following you, immediately do a U turn, take note of the driver and license plate number, continue to walk in the opposite direction and call the authorities from the nearest possible location.
  • Carry a whistle or personal safety alarm so you can alert others if you are attacked.
  • Do not carry a weapon, even for self-defense. Most policemen killed in the line of duty are done so with their own weapon, even though they are trained in their use. If you are assaulted, introducing a weapon will only increase the severity of the attack, and increase the chance of severe injury to yourself. Carrying a weapon also creates the chance of you or someone else being accidentally hurt, for which you would be held responsible.
  • If you are verbally harassed do not respond keep walking and notify the nearest authority.

Using a Vehicle

  • Keep all the doors locked even when you are inside the car.
  • Park in well lit areas.
  • Visually inspect the interior of the vehicle before you get in.
  • Have your keys ready before you get to the door, holding them between your thumb and forefinger in a ready position because:
  • Fumbling for your keys at your car makes you more vulnerable for an attack.
  • If you are attacked they can be used as a defensive tool.
  • Never hold your keys interlaced between your fingers, because keys are very brittle and will break if you hit someone while holding them in this manner.
  • If someone tries to get in your car while you’re driving, simply drive off. If you’re unable to do this, hold down on your horn to alert other people to your situation.

Using Transit

  • Plan your route beforehand, and know the transit schedule.
  • Choose busy and visible stops.
  • At night, use well-lit stops and sit near the driver.
  • If the bus doesn’t come and you are in a hurry, do not hitchhike – it is dangerous and in some cases illegal.

Running, Jogging or Rollerblading

  • Make sure you know your route.
  • Avoid wooded areas at night, and stay to well lit areas.
  • Try to run facing oncoming traffic and wear reflective clothing.
  • Personal stereos make it hard to be fully aware of your surroundings so try not to use them, especially at night.
  • When cycling or rollerblading, wear a helmet and reflective clothing, especially when you use the roadways

Using an ATM Machine

  • If anything strikes you as suspicious use a different machine, trust your gut instinct.
  • After dark make sure to look for well lit machines .
  • Do not use a machine if there is someone hanging around.
  • Cover the keypad with one hand while typing in your code with the other, even by yourself. You may feel silly doing it but it is a good habit to start and there have been cases of people using binoculars or video cameras to capture pin numbers.
  • If no money comes out make sure to check the money slot for blockages, and notify the bank immediately. A popular scam recently has been for people to block the money slot with a piece of plastic and then return to collect the money after the customer leaves.
  • If using a drive-through bank machine make sure all of the car doors are locked.

At a club or at a party

  • Never let your drink out of your sight.
  • If your drink does leave your sight get a new one.
  • Don’t sample drinks from people, even friends or acquaintances.
  • Most victims of sexual assault know their attacker.
  • While “date rape” drugs have been gaining in popularity, alcohol still accounts for the majority of sexual assaults where the victim is unconscious during the attack. So if you are going to drink, do so responsibly, or have friends you trust there to watch over you

If you are stalked or attacked

  • The most important thing is to tell the police, they are the best resource for stopping this problem, and the earlier you contact them the earlier they can help.
  • Keep a written record of everything. Tell friends, relatives, employers, co-workers or anyone else who witnesses an incident of your problem, so that they can keep a record as well.
  • Most importantly remember that it is not your fault, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You will need help and emotional support in this difficult time, whether it comes from friends, relatives, religion or support groups.
  • If you are attacked, try to comply with the attacker’s wishes, if they want you to turn over cash and valuables, these can be replaced, credit cards can be cancelled and pin numbers can be changed.
  • Try to remain calm throughout the situation, becoming hysterical will only make the situation worse and put the attacker more on edge.
  • If you are being physically, or sexually assaulted, try to get attention. This is where a whistle or personal alarm comes in handy. If you have to scream for help try yelling “fire” to get people’s attention as opposed to yelling “help”.
  • Try to remember details about the person’s appearance: height, age, facial hair, eye colour, tattoos etc.

Report the incident immediately. The details are fresher in your mind and the police have a better chance of catching the offender in the area.

This article is in wide circulation on the Internet, but I have never found an attribution to an author. As with many such articles, it is primarily written for women but has great value for those who simply appear or aspire to be women. We offer it as a service to all our readers.

I learned from my children’s karate classes that the elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

Last night I attended a personal safety workshop, and it jolted me. It was given by an amazing man, Pat Malone, who has been a body guard for famous figures like Farrah Fawcett and Sylvester Stallone. He works for the FBI and teaches police officers and Navy SEALS hand-to-hand combat. This man has seen it all, and knows a lot. He focused his teachings to us on HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME:

He gave us some statistics about how much the occurrences of random violence have escalated over the recent years, and it’s terrible. Something like 99% of us will be exposed to, or become a victim of a violent crime. Here are some of the most important points that I got out of his presentation:

The three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence are:

  • Lack of Awareness. You MUST know where you are & what’s going on around you.
  • Body Language. Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up.
  • Wrong Place, Wrong Time. DON’T walk alone in an alley, or drive in a bad neighborhood at night.
  • Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc). DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

  • Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
  • If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
  • Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
  • ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).
  • If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!
  • As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed.
      <[i>Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
  • Pat Malone told us the story of his daughter, who came out of the mall and was walking to her car when she noticed 2 older ladies in front of her. Then she saw a police car come towards her with cops who said hello. She also noticed that all 8 handicap spots in the area were empty. As she neared  her car she saw a man a few rows over calling to her for help. He wanted her to close his passenger side door. He was sitting in the back on the driver’s side, and said he was handicapped. He continued calling, until she turned and headed back to the mall, and then he began cursing at her. In the meantime, she wondered why he didn’t ask the 2 older ladies, or the policeman for help, and why he was not parked in any of the empty handicap spots. As she got back to the mall,two male friends of hers were exiting, and as she told them the story, and turned to point at the car, the man was getting out of the back seat into the front and the car sped away. DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THIS TRAP.

I’d like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only; but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it on to them, as well. Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it….better safe than sorry.


Pass this along to every woman you have access to. Never let your guard down.

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