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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay, funny but not funny situation. On a daily basis I get hit on and I typically flash my ring and I'm good but there are times when there are some rather idiotic pushy men who need the crap slapped out of them.
Just the other night soleilcouchant and I were out near quai de la tournelle with some of my Italian friends. We had a picnic late at night and later on I walked her to Gare d'Austerlitz area to get her to her night bus. I had to walk back to saint Paul to take my bus. No big deal to me, I've walked at night many times before. Well, I had an odd incident (and it isn't the only one I've had) where a man got off at my stop and started telling me he was gay and he was here to find a gay bar to meet a guy. Um there are no gay bars in Vincennes...
Long story short he grabbed my face and tried to kiss me while telling me he wanted to experiment with a woman. I pushed him and told him no and almost pulled out the corkscrew wine opener I had with me from the picnic to threaten him with it. He left me alone but it flipped me out. I knew this man waited to get off where I was getting off and it is just... Ugh!

I've been followed, talked dirty to, and grabbed multiple times, and after speaking with other girl expats who studied in Paris, they have all been messed with on a daily basis while doing everyday normal tasks. Is this... normal? I've never had this much of an issue in America... not even when I was working in a bad part of LA. Another girl on my Facebook told us all some very horrible things that would happen to her when she was studying in Paris.
My husband was freaked out about it. He wasn't with me last night since he had to work the next day but when he's with me no one messes with me of course.

So, is there pepper spray here and can I carry a mini knife or something? Seems extreme but after all of the run-ins I've have with the opposite sex here, I feel like I really need to carry something with me like I did in LA.
 

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yes let us know if pepper spray exists here. ;) ieatfood one of my French teachers when I was taking french lesson showed us how she carries around a giant safety pin in her purse always and sticks the old men with it if/when they rub up against her in the metros. Like if she was going out for the night in a skirt or something. I guess that's another thought...

(and I say "old men" because that's who she pointed out specifically. those who "accidentally on purpose" rub up against woman on the metros. She sticks them with the needle part)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
You can buy Pepper Spray as well as other less aggressive self defense items on amazon fr.
I don't think I want other less aggressive items lol! Someone grabbed me (which can initiate more aggression) and it truly merited a punch in the face. I would have if he hadn't left me alone but thankfully he did back away. I shutter to think what would have happened if he had kept on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes let us know if pepper spray exists here. ;) ieatfood one of my French teachers when I was taking french lesson showed us how she carries around a giant safety pin in her purse always and sticks the old men with it if/when they rub up against her in the metros. Like if she was going out for the night in a skirt or something. I guess that's another thought...

(and I say "old men" because that's who she pointed out specifically. those who "accidentally on purpose" rub up against woman on the metros. She sticks them with the needle part)
OMG... That's a good idea! Just the other day a man kept purposely sticking his elbow into my boob and finally I pushed him with my arm a little and gave him the evil look. In reality I wanted to elbow him in the nose...see how he likes having a pointy elbow digging into a sensitive place. Pig!
 

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Well, I used to have pepper spray a long time go when I had to return home late in Nice. I would keep it open and in my pocket with my finger on the trigger. I did feel better so I say go for it. I bought my mother-in-law a spray as she was often alone in her shop in the Vieux Nice. one day a man did try and get to the till and she pulled out her spray without looking and promptly sprayed herself! Luckily her screaming scared him away. :)
 

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Hi,
Knife is a big no - but why not just carry a small pocket sized deodorant spray can with you.
These are not considered to be a weapon - but I can assure you that if you spray that into someone's eyes - it would really sting and certainly take their mind off you!
They would then smell nice too!
Cheers
Steve
 

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Do NOT carry a knife - that's a quick way to get into big trouble very fast. Love the spray deodorant idea. A small can of hair spray might work well, too.

For the frotteurs - a sharp, quick jab with your elbow works wonders. (Watch out especially for the gypsy kids - obvious in the metro because they're usually in there when school is in session, and so are the only kids in the train.)

But like in any big city, you need to be aware of your surroundings, especially when out and around at night. Be careful out there!
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Another good deterrent is a really loud whistle - not for use in the metro tho'!
You could buy pepper spray/ Small handbag sized canisters of CS gas in hunting fishing shops in France. Don't know if you still can. But worth a look.
If you looked in my truck you would find one can in the glove compartment close to my right hand and one in large box in the boot of the vehicle in which I keep shopping bags etc. I regularly drive down to Spain fishing and stay in some remote places. The areas that I visit are home to a number if gipsy gangs that dress as Policemen and stop vehicles, assault the driver and steal what ever they can. I also take a can with me to the Far East where I fish , for similar reasons. I do think that over there I would be on dodgy ground with its use and possession, however if stopped by the authorities both here and over there I would explain that it was for use against dangerous dogs. If being attacked then I would have absolutely no problems with using it. Two things to remember with a propellant defence spray if used. Hold your hand in front of your eyes about a foot away to give you vision of the assailant and try and move yourself into a position where any wind is behind you. If you decide to obtain a CS gas spray, after use, do NOT rub your eyes. At the first opportunity have a shower and keep your eyes closed whilst doing so as the any residue of the gas will be washed from your hair, over your forehead and into your eyes. Be warned.

The most sensible, legal thing to do would be too invest in a couple of high decibel rape alarms. Keep one in your jacket pocket and one in your handbag. They are small, light and very noisy and legal. If you can manage to carry a mobile phone around then one one of these is no problem. Just make sure you know how to use it in the dark and check the batteries on a regular basis.

Also in my car I take a car steering lock which is in the shape and size of a small baseball bat, that is in the cab and a pickaxe handle in the boot, both are legal objects.
Its not overkill or Rambo like it is common sense in this day and age and the carrying of these items has stood me in good stead in the past.

As well as large pins, shoes with heels make an excellent weapon of defence as well as one of those combs with the point on one end that you ladies use to tease up,your bouffants. All legal items to be carried, its just having the nerve to use it. All you need is to provide yourself with a few seconds diversion to escape. Scream loudly if possible, don't worry about it, just do it. Throw something through a glass window to create noise and a diversion. Criminals dont like noise or light.

You could also consider attending a simple self defence course, doesn't have to be black belt karate or Ninja Warrior standard, just enough to get free and create a space.

Hope you never have to resort to any of the above. Keep safe. Fletch.
 

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Were you ever in the SAS Fletch? :p

Yes, keep safe & keep aware.

On the self-defence part if someone puts their hand in your face (i.e. not a full-on attack) grab their thumb, start to move it away and the hand has to follow.

If it's a serious attack keep going with the thumb.
If you've ever hurt your thumb you will know that your hand is useless without it.

Next levels according to threat perceived would be:

i) Knee up to groin (presuming it is an attack by a male!). I can confirm that it causes breathlessness! :eek:

ii) 'Stamp' with the flat of your foot against their knee. Again extremely painful and incapacitating.

iii) As a last resort aim for their eyes with anything you have.

As for carrying anything with you, I know in the UK you will be arrested if you have a baseball bat in your car (and aren't on your way to the park!), even hammers & tools have to be carried in the boot.

A bunch of keys are always useful, with the sharp one poking out of your fist.

At home you should take up dog training ;) and buy a 'dummy launcher'.
These are used for training retrievers. A solid rubber tube sits on a handle and it is fired 100 m using a blank .22 cartridge.

Up to 30m it has the same effect as a rubber bullet.........
 

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Trouble is, in a male attacking female situation, the male is most likely to outweigh the female and also has the benefit of surprise. So unless you are a karate black belt or have some serious defense training, it's not very likely that a female will get the better of a male attacker.

Awareness is essential, some kind of alarm is useful, but arms can be taken and used against you so be judicious in your choice. Whatever you may try to spray in their eyes may end up in yours, same goes for weapons.
 

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I agree with Verite-never carry a knife or pointy thing unless you are prepared to use it and be aware that if you are subject to these disgusting antics whipping out a knife could aggravate the situation and could be used against you;If you do get pepper spray or similar then try to get one that has a lanyard or similar so it cannot be taken off you and practice using it-make sure it is pointing away from you and that you are upwind of it otherwise it will be you that is incapacitated
 

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There's a way you can hold your house keys in your hand to defend yourself and it's extremely effective - I learnt it at self-defence classes for women in Australia (where if you are a women you are best to forget completely about walking alone or riding public transport after dark). I would strongly suggest you look for an inexpensive self-defence class for women. That would be much safer for you than carrying a weapon.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all for your suggestions. It's odd for me to not be able to carry actual things to defend ones self. I used to have pepper spray that had click to turn it off and on and so you always knew by feel if you were holding it right.
As for a knife, I also used to have one while in LA. It's sounds crazy but I know how to use a butterfly knife since I was taught by an ex boyfriend, lol.

I've also had quite a few scrapes with the boys and men when I was in school and later in life. I used to be VERY confrontational when I was younger...I also had a boyfriend, who was very tall, at 18 who thought he could put his hands on me...it didn't work out so well for him. Ugh, I was a good child but bad when it came to getting into fights.

Even though my husband was pissed off and worried he said that he would be concerned for the guy too because I'd probably kill him, lol. Him and I wrestle around sometimes and he gets surprised by how strong I am.

I definitely know how to defend myself but having something with me makes me feel better.

It also just pisses me off when I have to deal with this crap during the day while shopping. An Italian man was messing with me the day before and he left me alone when I said I was married and showed my ring... I was picking cherries out at the store dude!!! I can't even ask for help at stores unless there is a woman. I get hit on by the male employees and they're like, "no, you're not married!"
There's the little things and the big things but the little things drive me crazy too. Is there no respect, do you not look at my hand before asking, do you not realize that you're interrupting my daily tasks to stop me on the street to say vulgar things and my silence or evil stare is not enough to make you go away?

Like I said, I NEVER had this issue in the US. Of course people are always flirting.. But jeeez I've never been forcefully grabbed by unknown men, I've never had to say "Leave me the F*** alone" almost every other day, never been touched in 'secret' ways while on transportation. So... what is it with Paris?
 

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Glad to hear that you are able to look after yourself.

However it shouldn't be necessary to wear a wedding ring in order to be left alone, no woman of any age or condition should be subjected to verbal and/or physical violence in this way.

Don't know what the solution is except to be firm and try not to show that you are afraid (if this is the case).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Glad to hear that you are able to look after yourself.

However it shouldn't be necessary to wear a wedding ring in order to be left alone, no woman of any age or condition should be subjected to verbal and/or physical violence in this way.

Don't know what the solution is except to be firm and try not to show that you are afraid (if this is the case).
You're so right! Though my husband did say I would attract different kinds of men now that I'm married. Being married brings on a whole new level of weirdos, lol! Who knows for sure though!
 

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The reason I suggested self-defence classes for women was not because I thought you couldn't look after yourself, rather because there are some really good techniques to deal with such things simply and without doing harm or causing a major disturbance before they get out of hand (even frail elderly women can use them - and yes, they do have issues as well). I have no idea what things are like in LA, but in my whole of life experience in various countries these incidents are, sadly, far from rare.

Be aware that in France and many other countries you cannot use unreasonable force to defend yourself (what is reasonably or not would normally be determined by a court in case of major industry or death) and concealed weapons are generally a definite no no and carrying one could land you in jail. OTOH there is a law that requires witnesses to render aid to those in danger - sure, it doesn't always happen, but at least the law is in place, you have a reasonable chance of being assisted (much better than in many other countries), and those who do not render aid are sometimes pursued by the justice system here.
 

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I don't know, if someone was trying to rape me it'd be hard for me to resist "unreasonable force" if I somehow got the upper hand. Especially knowing if they're doing it with me, they probably have or will try it with others. But, I guess that's good to know. I feel like in the US you're not really supposed to go overboard beyond defense either, but...maybe a jury would be sympathetic. (As in, doing what you can to stop it is one thing, but then if you went on attacking the person out of rage...probably not okay. though to me, I can see it). That's cool there is a law saying you have to help people...to evade that bystander indifference, I suppose. That's pretty cool.

I took a self defense class before coming here...it was supposed to be a woman's self defense class but it just so happened the day I got there, they only had one teacher who was also teaching jiu jitsu or something, so I got (literally) dragged into that class instead and then learned some tips about punching and getting away if pinned to the ground at the end. but not the initial stuff like you're talking about EH (to stop it from escalating). Tant pis

Like ieatfood said, thanks for the suggestions and the warnings of what not to do (like a knife). Does a rape whistle really work though, if you were alone at night? And does deodorant spray really do anything lol?
 

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Like ieatfood said, thanks for the suggestions and the warnings of what not to do (like a knife). Does a rape whistle really work though, if you were alone at night? And does deodorant spray really do anything lol?
Here again, you must be careful because unless your life is in danger, you can't justify spraying just about anything into someone's eyes. There is a risk that you might blind them, and that brings us back to the reasonable force issue.

I have a friend who lost the sight in one eye when he accidentally sprayed tanning lotion into it. I imagine that deodorant is probably ok but it might be better to get something that is solely destined to deter an agressor but which can be used legally. Otherwise you might be the one ending up in prison....
 
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