Pepper spray? Chilli powder? Personal alarm? Needle? Knife? Taser? Kick? Boxing? Knee in the groin?

Pepper spray? Chilli powder? Personal alarm? Needle? Knife? Taser? Kick? Boxing? Knee in the groin?

I am feeling very overwhelmed and yes, humbled, by the (mostly supportive) outpouring of comments and advice, after my blog post about being groped, when I was out running on Wednesday.

Thank you, thank you to all of you who took the time to write and, especially thank you to the people whom I do not know personally, yet who commented and left advice.  It means a lot.

Am less impressed by one moron on Twitter who went on and on about “white saviours” (honestly no idea what he was talking about) and tried to link my being touched up by some greasy-haired lowlife specimen, to the murder of an Indian woman in Sydney earlier this week.  Some sort of racial quid pro quo?

Anyway, moving on to the eminently sensible comments instead.

Firstly, though, it was disturbing to read that so many of you women have also been groped.

A lovely lady called Beatrix, whom I don’t know other than in cyberspace, had this to say :

 I’ve had my butt, crotch, & breasts grabbed, my hair pulled, by Indian men ONLY IN DELHI.
It has happened while walking in Khan Mkt., at a swank hair salon in Saket, strolling through the Paharganj, shopping at Dilli Haat, wandering Connaught Place, even at the supposedly hip’n’swish Hauz Khas.
I can almost handle the lewd comments by Delhi men BUT WHY CAN’T THEY KEEP THEIR HANDS TO THEMSELVES?!?!!!
Anyway, I bought some “SABRE Maximum Strength Blue Dye Pepper Spray” the last time I was in the US.
It not only blasts your attacker with pepper spray but marks them with a blue dye that lasts for 24 hrs.

One of of my lovely running girls, Shalini, shared this :

 I have slapped, yelled, abused, pushed, thrown stones at so many of them but all they do is fold hands and say ‘sorry’. Sorry??? Bloody morons! And the public- men, women everyone would be just watching quietly.

Another lovely friend called Brinda shared this anecdote:

I have an American friend who, many years ago, was in a line to buy cinema tickets at the Regal Cinema. Someone behind her grabbed her crotch, and when she turned around there he was, a small weedy man! So, being tall and strong, she gave him a couple of slaps and then picked him up and shook him, rather like a dog would shake a rat, and shouted to the crowd…..look at this man, this is what he does! All the fellow could say was “Please, please Madam, I am very sorry, I am married”!! They are diseased, these men, indulged from the womb to the tomb in all the wrong ways by their mothers…..The crowd, mostly men, needless to say, did NOTHING….

From a very dear friends Simran, mourning the recent death of her beloved Nani (maternal grandmother) :

Btw my Nani had her bottom groped at the age of 70. The mind boggles.

Anu shares her experience:

The sad, sad truth is that in many places in Delhi, self-help is the best help. Reminds me of the time when travelling by a bus as a teenager and was repeatedly ‘accidentally’ groped by a man on a bus. The good citizens around me did nothing.. till such time as I whipped around, kicked the creep hard and followed it up with a verbal lashing. The citizenry was then sufficiently roused to inquire what was the matter, despite the fact that the harassment was occurring in full public view. And yes, I carry pepper spray everywhere now.

What a depressing catalogue, ladies.

The title of my blog post, as I am sure you have guessed, is a (partial) list of the suggestions you all made, as to what I should do to protect myself from the creeps out there.  There is a difference between protecting yourself while out, say, for a walk or driving, and running where – ideally – one wants to be as unencumbered as possible.  Having just started running without my water bottle, in order to lighten up, it now seems as though I am going to have to start carrying something extra with me, as protection.

But what?

Some of your suggestions are impractical –  needle and knife, for example.

I am not going to run with a knife, which I don’t know how to use and which would only get me into worse trouble, I suspect.  And where would I put a needle while running?

So thanks, but no thanks.

A handful of chilli powder?

Useful, but not practical in a running context.  By the time I’d’ve got it out of the ziplock bag, the greasy-haired creep would have been off.

A shrieker personal alarm is a good idea.  I used to have one which would supposedly make the person vomit, such was the pitch of the shriek.

But I think a pepper spray is the best solution, and if I can track down the one that Beatrix recommends, then that’s definitely the way to go.  And as one commentator on my blog, Sanjeev, said – if enough women use pepper sprays when they are molested, word will soon get out that women are fighting back.

A very nice man “KJ”, whom I do not know, wrote a long and very detailed comment on my blog, and I would urge every woman reading this, please, to check his remarks.  You’ll find them at the end of the original post about being groped.

As the soon-to-be-father of a daughter, I found KJ’s detailed remarks both helpful and yes, moving.

KJ is a martial arts teacher, so I take his words very seriously, and am sharing with you here a gem from his detailed and helpful comment:

GRABBING the groin, and TWISTING (gross sounding, I know, but if you make the MENTAL commitment to defend yourself, you can easily wash your hands later … You will have had him ‘by the balls’, and caused him to crumple on the pavement).

I had a sweet supportive message from a young man who ran the recent half marathon (the one on the Formula 1 track in the rain…) and heard about the incident.

So, yes, am feeling the care and concern.

I thank you all.

I welcome your further thoughts and feedback about ways to stay safe.

Any further ideas?  Advice?


  1. KJ

    Christine, I appreciate your wonderfully kind recommendation (sorry, I just read this), which I hope encourages women to learn more about street survival skills. And thank you for your warm wishes toward my soon-to-be-born daughter …

    You are absolutely correct about the impracticality of many of the suggestions. Pepper spray certainly is an option. I do like to encourage people to think of using what they usually carry, exactly for reasons of not feeling encumbered … Hence, things like a key(s), fingernails (even short ones can rake), heels on many women’s (dress) shoes, a pen (once that cap comes off, that nib can definitely puncture a lot of soft tissue – eyes, ear canal, throat, side of the neck, nostrils, etc).

    Another one – even if you’re wearing running shoes, if you STOMP down with your HEEL onto the INstep of his foot, it REALLY hurts, aside from breaking bones in the foot. STOMP. If you’re wearing harder tipped shoes (usually formal), kick the shins. Any person even of poor athletic ability can do this. Whichever of these you execute, remember to make it count by EXPLOSIVE movement. The goal is to make your assailant SCREAM in pain and break his hold … so that you can HIT HIM AGAIN if necessary.

    (By the way, “K.J. used to live in Delhi and now lives in Los Angeles).

  2. Beatrix

    You can actually buy small, rechargable ‘tasers’ in the US too.
    Key fobs that are shaped in such a way that they function as ‘brass knuckles’ with spikes on them are popular in the US too.
    But I really don’t want to have get close enough to use a taser or punch my attacker, so I’m sticking with the pepper spray.
    The instructions on the pepper spray says it shoots 10 ft, that’s about as close as I can stand.

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