Today’s Editorial Monday, October 27: Learn how to defend yourself

A call has been made through a petition from the People for Referendum asking Members of the Legislative Assembly to support a bill that would legalise defensive devices such as pepper spray.

The petition comes after the horrific 10 October death of Estella Scott-Roberts.

There are pros and cons to tools such as pepper spray as defence weapons; too many for us to go into in this column.

But there are ways people, especially women, can protect themselves.

It starts with being aware of your surroundings.

If you sense or see a potential problem, change your route and get ready to run.

If you are attacked, don’t lose your self-control and don’t panic. Fear is one of your most dangerous enemies. Try to remain rational.

If there are people nearby and you are attacked, don’t yell for help. Instead yell to them to call the police. That way your attacker knows law enforcement is probably on the way.

Never leave your car unlocked, even for a few minutes while you dash into the shop, and always check your car before getting in it.

If you are attacked, use your environment. Everything around you has the potential to be a weapon.

Scream, scratch, bite, hit, kick or attack with a common object. Most women carry handbags that can be used to strike or strangle and many contain potential legal weapons, such as a lipstick case that can be poked into someone’s eye, a hair brush to strike across the eyes of the attacker and perfume sprays that can be squirted into the eyes.

For those who want to be better armed, many groups and organisations offer self-defence classes in the Cayman Islands.

We would like to see this become a subject that is addressed in all schools.

Students should be taught early how to protect themselves from attackers. These would be lessons that would stay with them their whole lives.

They could be incorporated into physical education classes or offered in other extra curricular lessons.

We are already armed with ways to defend ourselves. We just have to make ourselves aware and be prepared.