Earlier this week, my sister had locked her keys in her car when she went into Wal-Mart. She was alone, and it was fairly late in the evening. I received a call from my mother, saying that she had used the Wal-Mart phone to call her and a locksmith, and she wanted me to go out and be there with her so that she wasn't alone. "We have to look out for one another," she had said to me.

It got me thinking, "What if my mother didn't call me? What would have happened to my sister if I wasn't there?" Montana currently has 53 active missing women cases, and according to research done by DisasterCenter.com, in the year 2019 alone, Montana saw an increase in violent crime numbers, including over 600 rape cases and over 3,400 aggravated assaults. These numbers don't show exactly how many of these were against women, however, it does show that young folks need to be aware of the dangers of the world around them, and the best way to circumvent that danger.

Where should someone start?

Now, I'm not a woman, however, I was raised by two incredibly smart women, my mother and my grandmother, and I've asked them what they would say to someone, like my sister, to give them the best advice to stay safe.

While they both mentioned great things, such as never being out alone or trusting in your gut instinct, they both started with the same exact sentence: be aware of your surroundings. It's easy to forget that one, since we're always distracted by other things, such as our phones, friends talking to you or something of that nature. But, being aware is the number one thing to think about, and where someone should start.

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The internet also has many resources when it comes to learning about how to best be safe. Maryville University compiled a list of articles detailing women's self-defense techniques and how to utilize them. You can also take a look on Amazon for deals on mace or pepper spray (it's legal to buy, carry, and use in Montana) to make sure you keep any attackers at a distance and incapacitated.

Let's make sure to look out for one another as well. I know I will.

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