Watch Out Girls!

It is so important to take care of your safety at all times. In today’s world, you are moving a lot. Coming in contact with people at home and outside. You have got to keep yourself safe in this world of today. In this blog post I just want to share some points which are vital for your safety. 

My father’s warnings:

‘It is good to be brave,’ my Dad once said to me, ‘but you must know the difference between being brave and being stupid!’

So, when you take a risk.  – Make it a calculated risk.

You know what that means? – That you take every precaution to keep yourself safe at all times.

Sultan Golden broke many world records and has been a pride for the country. He was a motorbike and car jumper, which is very rare in Pakistan. 
You see Sultan Golden here, and my father is standing next to Sheikh Zaid. This was a historic event in Lahore. It was my father Brig.M. M. Sarfaraz Khan who promoted Sultan Golden. It was only after finding out about the safety precautions which Golden took while performing these very dangerous feats. 

Sultan Golden would ride his motor bike through a flaming halo, and I’ve seen him perform this jump over twenty two cars, breaking the world record at that time. He did that with a car also. It appeared reckless. But actually, it wasn’t. He took all precautions; He wore a fireproof dress as he did so. He also practiced and calculated distance. He minutely calculated equipment, and the implementation of that motorbike jump to the minutest detail.  He did the same for his car jumps also.

That is what you should do.

Know that there is no law in Pakistan today which will protect you. (A law which is only in books is useless to a girl who has been harassed or mistreated.) In fact the ‘law’ won’t even protect you afterwards. You have the case of Mukhtara Mai in front of you. 

Know that.

And understand it well.

Things appear more spooky at night. The shadows can have someone there. So, have your place well lighted. 

I’ve done plenty of daring things in my life. (Nothing compared to what Sultan Golden did.) But it was risky. Yet it was all calculated risk. I made sure there wasn’t any ‘risk’ when I took it. You can reduce the risk factors one by one, by addressing your fears, and doing something about each one of them. You have to measure it all, I had taken every necessary precaution to protect myself and my daughters.

You don’t take daring steps without preparation.

When I lived alone with my daughter in a house, which was still under construction,  there were laborers living on first floor, and I had enemies. I knew there were burglars and thieves, and murderers around too. Only a month back, there had been attempts in several nearby houses, and homes in the vicinity. Yet, I moved into my house.  Apparently, it was a foolish thing to do, but in reality I had done my homework. (In spite of the fact that I had lost my husband just three weeks earlier, and had faced the most horrific situations.)

But when I moved into my home, I was prepared.

While moving in, I took all measures for safety. At first I had a guard. Then, got a security system installed.  I had my Paprica, a black cocker spanial who was ferocious. I kept knives, golf clubs all over the house, even under sofas. Everywhere. I had a pistol too. (Yes, I know how to use firearms!)_ I took a round of the house at every odd hour. I watched every car that parked outside.  My neighbors were on alert as were the laborers in my house too.

Of course, Allah helped me. But He too only helps those who help themselves.

 You don’t become suddenly brave. It has a lifetime of being fearless, and living courageously. You need to read books and watch videos on self defense. YouTube is full of these, and so are the book shelves. 

You can take help of police. Do register  domestic staff and do the needful. You can even write down names of persons you are apprehensive about at the local police station. Things are improving in many cases also. But. Rely on yourself only. 
Read these carefully.

Safety tips for you:

  • Dress:Dress with care. Never displaying flesh, or being seductively dressed. This dress has to be combined with a ‘no-nonsense’ attitude. You’ve got to make it clear by your mannerism exactly where the other person stands. Watch your tone of voice.
  • Time: Avoid being outside in night hours, unless you have full control of everything. Once I heard a program in which the person was asked why he behaved inappropriately with girls at a night club. He said, if a girl enters a nightclub alone after 12.a.m. it is an open invitation.
  • Never be alone with a man. Move in a group, and stay that way. If you find yourself alone, make your behavior and attitude such that a person won’t think of crossing the line. Do not accept a drink or meal from someone. Specially, when it isn’t sealed. (You know, something can be put in it to make you sedated.)
  •  Do not get blackmailed by anyone for anything. No matter how much a person says, be clear, that nothing is worth putting yourself in a risky situation.
  • Listen to your gut feeling: Sometimes, apparently everything is fine. But somehow you feel uneasy. This is your gut feeling. Respect it.
  • Do not tell anyone your next step: Plan things in such away, that you know for sure what you will do in which case. Keep this to yourself. The surprise element is your greatest weapon. If you tell another person what you are going to do, he will become prepared. So, look right and run left!
  • Have your plans A, B, C and D in place:  When your plan A doesn’t work. Then your ‘plan B’ will already be in line. (Be ready with your plan C also.) Here are a few tips:
    • If you have to be in an inappropriate situation, ask a friend to call you after fifteen minutes. Tell her to come, if you don’t answer the phone. You can have a code word to say to the person to indicate whether things are okay, or not. (Have another code, to tell the person to call again in a while, too).  Pick the phone and say it.
    • Do’ live sharing’on Google map  with your  friend so you can be traced and saved in time.
    • In any case, always keep a spray in your purse, and a packet of nice red-chili powder or chat masala to throw into an assailant’s eyes.
    • If nothing else, loudly read Auzo billa he minashata nirrajeem. It can be very powerful for these devils. 
  • As a parent:
    •  Listen to your child, and read the signals: If a child comes to you telling you about inappropriate behavior of anyone. Deal with the situation so she never has to face that person again. Remember, if you  aren’t going to respond to her or his plea seriously, who will?
    • Never leave your child: Even for a few days with a relative, going for an Umra or Haj is not ‘farz‘ if you have responsibilities. Take your child with you. All these events are child friendly. Otherwise, don’t go. I cannot help feeling that the Zainab case wouldn’t have happened, if the mother hadn’t gone for Umra. For God’s sake, it isn’t a ‘farz’ if you have responsibilities. Never confuse anything or situation with your own responsibilities.
    • Remember,‘accidents can be prevented’: Learn from mistakes. Learn and use modern  gadgets and technology to be close to your child.
    • Take your child to work with you: If you have to work, choose a place where they offer a day-care within the premises. Then you can visit your child, during work hours.
    • Choose work which allows children:These days I’m reading Barefoot Executive in which the author Carrie Wilkerson shows you how to start your own business from home, so you do not have to leave your children. All my life, I did my freelance work taking my children with me for interviews and research. You see the village women and even beggar women having their children with them. It is good. There are men who keep their children with them during work. The child benefits from this environment also. 
  • Do not trust anyone: Whether you know the person since childhood or have just met the person. It is actually all the same. Believe me, I know.
  • Follow the rules of Islam: If you just follow the rules of Islam then you will be safe in 99% of cases. A person is a ‘na-mehram’and that is it. People coming to you and saying ‘I’m your brother, or uncle, or father, is all nonsense.’ Only the real relationships can be trusted, and those too within their own constraints. That’s it.
  • Suicide tendencies: Note anyone talking about killing herself, or wanting to leave this world. Take it very seriously. Recently, I heard of someone who actually saved the life of a star, who had casually mentioned such a thing. You can save lives. Do it.
  • Read between the lines: Watch what people say, and what they do. Note the difference. Watch it even more carefully. Keep your opinion to yourself.  Whatever the case, if you have to meet someone, do it in a public place.

Do read ‘Ya Hafeezo’ and give sadqa or charity, (even if it’s a small one) every time you go out of the house, or first thing in the morning. If you don’t have cash give something of yours, or share your meal. (When you go to the restaurant, always take the left overs, even if it is to give to a beggar outside.

Stay safe and stay protected, and most of all, stay blessed.

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