In the real world not Reel Lady land, I'm known as the girly girl with a tom boy side. I'm also known as the woman other women seek out for gun, holster, and personal defense advice in general. I always want to encourage other women to protect themselves in ways they feel comfortable. I also know not everyone feels comfortable with a gun, and in some events like running outside I still haven't found a great way to conceal & carry.
Recently, I was involved in a conversation among all women, of mixed backgrounds, educations & beliefs about personal safety while exercising alone outside. The woman who initiated the conversation isn't a "gun person," but had several scares while out exercising that had her seeking some sort of protection from animals, or people with ill intent. I came up with a few answers on the fly (which I will include in the following), but I wanted to make a list on the blog and do more research to help any readers who may not feel as comfortable toting a gun around as some of us do.
Pepper spray is one of the most common and widely purchased non-lethal self defense items out there. I have had classes with police officers, and I know others who have been sprayed with pepper spray (willingly), and most say it is quiet disabling, and a hellish ordeal. Pepper spray might also aid in an aggressive dog situation allowing you enough time to evade the dog or find help, but it's probably going to make an unhappy pooch unhappier. However, in Oklahoma the wind does come sweeping down the plains. Pepper spray isn't nearly as effective on an attacker when they are upwind from you. Most likely you'll get a face full of pepper spray and render yourself incapacitated, only aiding an attacker. The above pepper blaster is probably one of the best on the market in my opinion (another winning design by Kimber America), because it will deploy at 90mph up to 13'. It also holds two punches of pepper spray that reportedly disable a person for up to 45 minutes. The design seems handier than it's keychain counterparts and lasts up to 3 years.
I've been around a few stun guns in my day, never taken a hit from one though. I can say the noise alone will send chills down your spine and or scare the holy crud out of you! The not so great part of a stun gun is the close proximity you have to be to an attacker. If an attacker is within arms length of you, then they very well could have the upper hand or disarm you. I'm not a fan of close quarters hand to hand combat (I'm not trained in it & neither are most civillians). They are also not legal in every state, so check your laws before purchasing.
I carry the above flashlight in my purse. Not only is it extra handy to have a small flashlight in my purse, but this one serves dual purposes. Besides lighting the way, it also can be used as a weapon. The edges on either end of the flashlight can cut someone if you hit them head on with the flashlight. I have seen them leave sizable cuts in wood by testing it out. I know I wouldn't want to be hit with it, however I again am not trained at hand to hand combat so this could easily be rendered as useless by a trained attacker.
This seemingly innocent key chain looks like it could really pack a punch. It's something that isn't hard to carry, but completely useful. All women I know have heard to carry keys through their fingers to punch an attacker with, but this keychain gives you more control and leverage without hurting yourself with keys. Definitely something I think every woman should have considering it is affordable, and convenient to carry.
I definitely do not claim to be an expert on self defense, and I personally believe in carrying a gun for self defense because that is what I feel most comfortable with. These are merely starting points for women, or men, who are unsure about self defense, but are interested in starting to learn more about ways to protect themselves. It is also a list of completely affordable non-firearm hand held self defense items, which could easily be taken running, shopping, or to work.