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Margaret Baune, Published June 20 2012

We don’t need boyfriend’s advice; we need to take care of ourselves

In response to Hiram Dunlop’s June 17 Forum letter, “It’s wise to heed good advice: Stay close to your boyfriend:”

I am a 25-year-old single woman who has lived in urban areas for the past seven years. I find it ridiculous for Dunlop to promote as a sole suggestion for ensuring the safety of our young women the importance of the presence of a man, specifically a boyfriend. While it is certainly beneficial to travel in numbers when possible, I would like to offer my own advice on personal safety.

Partly because I am an individual who has had the experience of relocating for employment in a strange city hundreds of miles away from everything and everyone I know in the Midwest, I have always placed a high value on my personal safety. This has included always being acutely aware of my surroundings and consciously assessing my choice of transportation and best available route.

Additionally, I carry what I colloquially refer to as my “Rape Cat,” but is often marketed as a “Key Cat Keychain.” A Key Cat Keychain is an affordable tool for self-defense and is easily accessible for use in an emergency. It requires no pulling of a pin or switch of a safety button like is often required to activate pepper spray and cannot easily be turned against the victim by the attacker in the same way that those products can be. Furthermore, it is designed with grooves in the plastic, which serve as a sort of “DNA catcher” if contact with the attacker is achieved.

As a final note, I want to stress that I do not have any affiliation with the manufacturers of this product; I am simply a woman who purchased this product and have never regretted that purchase. Although I have never had to use my Rape Cat in self-defense, I have certainly felt empowered from my awareness of my ability to do something to take charge of my own situation if that need were to ever arise.

Baune, Grand Forks, is a 2012 graduate of the University of North Dakota

School of Law.