13 Self-Defense Tips to Protect Yourself from Would-Be Attackers and Kidnappers


Recent news of a kidnapping incident in Makati City last night sparked panic across all social media sites. As far as we know, the kidnapping took place at around 9 p.m., December 9, on the corner of Perea Street and Paseo de Roxas in Legaspi Village, just two blocks away from Greenbelt 1.

The victim, a Chinese woman, was abducted by what witnesses claimed to be three Chinese men in a white van.

“Makati,” “Paseo,” “Perea,” “Kidnapping,” and “Trigger Warning” have been trending all morning as netizens express their concern about the increasing number of kidnapping cases in the metro. At least nine youths from Pasay City disappeared in November, leading the Pasay City police on a hunt to find them.

Makati has gained a reputation for being a relatively safe city, particularly the area where the kidnapping took place, which is why the news of the incident has alarmed many netizens.

While there’s no way to predict when incidents like this will take place, there are ways to prepare yourself and to prevent it from happening to you. Here are some tips to keep yourself safe:

1| Travel in groups

And keep at least three paces between you and the road. If you’re walking home alone, walk behind a group of three or more people.

2| Take off your earphones

Stick your earphones in your bag, put your phone away or just hold it, and keep your eyes and ears alert. Listening to music makes you look distracted, and might make you an easy target.


3| Remember to call 911

The Philippine emergency service number is no longer 117, but 911. Calling the number will direct you to a call center, which will then direct you to the police of the district you’re in. If you see something sketchy happening, prioritize calling 911 over messaging your friends.

4| Take alternative routes home

Most kidnapping attempts are planned, meaning they’ll expect you to stick to one routine. Take different routes home every now and then.

5| When in doubt, take Grab

If it’s late but you’re worried about the high fees of Grab, take it anyway. The price of Grab is worth your safety.

6| Walk only on well-lit pedestrian sidewalks

Walk along these roads, even if the route is longer. Strategically plan your route so you walk by banks, 711s, or places with CCTVs, as well as security guards, who are usually prepared for these scenarios

7| If a car slows near you, walk away quickly

Even if it’s just a taxi or even a motorcycle driver, walk away quickly. Put as much distance between you and the slowing car.

8| Don’t worry about being polite

If a stranger on the street or in a car wants to ask you a question, hold the niceties and get to the point. If you think the person is sketchy, then cut the conversation short and leave.

9| Always tell someone where you’re going

Even if you’re just going home after a late night at work, tell someone when and where you’re going, so that if something does happen (*knocks on wood*), someone will know that something has happened to you.

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10| Invest in pepper spray

You can buy pepper spray online and sometimes in stores nowadays. Keep it in the pocket of your bag that’s easiest and fastest to reach.

11| Put your key between your fingers

Walking this way keeps you prepared for attackers or kidnappers. A punch in the face with a metal key lodged between your knuckles will stun them long enough for you to get away.

12| Know self-defense moves

First, the most vulnerable places on the human body are the eyes, nose, throat, groin, solar plexus, and knee. If an attacker has their hands on you, focus your efforts on the parts of your body that aren’t being held. Aim those parts at vulnerable points. If he has you by the arms, use your feet to kick him in the crotch. If he has you by the waist, use your hands to punch his throat or gouge his eyes.

13| Make it harder for you to be taken

If someone is trying to move you or pull you, put your feet firmly on the ground with your feet spread apart and your knees bent to make it harder to knock you out of balance.

13| Download safety apps like Life360

Life360 lets you see the location of the people in a private group, like your friends and family. It even has a feature that lets you send real-time alerts when you arrive or leave a destination.

These are only a few tips people can use to keep themselves safe. If you have any other tips or advice, tell us and our readers in the comment section below.


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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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