Self-defense is the need of the hour. Why? At times, we are compelled to work late at the office and have to take one of those last trains back home. During those times, when you see an unruly crowd near the station or on the road, your heart flips a beat—and suddenly, the path we usually take fearlessly becomes a treacherous one. In these times of career-driven, ambitious lifestyles, one cannot help but work overtime, so it is best to take the necessary precaution to deal with possible unsafe, difficult situations.

According to surveys conducted in 143 countries in 2011,“men and women often do not equally share the bolstered sense of security that these types of improvements bring. In many high-income countries—including New Zealand, Malta, Italy, France, Australia, and the U.S.—men are considerably more likely than women to say they feel safe walking alone at night in their communities.”

Additionally, we think we can easily avoid these situations by keeping licensed firearms to shield ourselves. To ensure safety, you don’t have to go the extra mile and buy new things. Instead, there are everyday items you can easily count on in such situations. You can find many ways to escape perilous situations by using the contents of your handbag—here are 5 such items!

1. Ball-point pens 

We all have pens in our bags, and they  can be a very useful tool to protect yourself. Think of the pen as a dagger with a thin and narrow blade and needlepoint. The sharp end of the pen can be used to attack the face or the jawline of the attacker: the idea is to the shock the assailant, throw the person off guard and attack the vulnerable points of the attacker’s body, such as their eyes or neck.

2. Dupattas/Scarves

Stoles, scarves, and belts can be used to stun the attacker or even to strangle a person. In fact, historically, garrotes (which refers to the handheld ligature of a chain, rope, scarf or wire) have been used as weapons by elite soldiers from the French Foreign Legion.

3.   Car/House Keys 

Keys can also be used as daggers. Even if the end of your key is not sharp enough, if proper pressure is applied, it can do a good job to defer the attacker from getting close to you. The intention is to apply pressure and shock the opponent.

4. Perfumes or Sprays

Scents can be used to distract the attacker. Ideally, pepper spray is the best defense—but in case you don’t have one with you, spray your perfume on the attacker’s eyes and nose. A strong scent can leave the attacker in a shock and you can take this chance to escape or call the police.

5. Be Alert 

The key of any self-defense tactic is to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to tackle an unsafe situation. Maintain a confident posture while you walk alone and be mentally prepared to attack if something happens, instead of letting fear take over. Your mind is the best self-defense tool you have!