Checking public bathrooms

Just so you know, this is what many women do every time we use a public bathroom alone (for those who even choose to do that) so that we are not attacked, raped, robbed, or otherwise harassed or hurt. Please note we are not in a standing, ready-to-run position while using the facilities, so safety for women in bathrooms is actually an issue in our public spaces. (Note — a woman was sexually assaulted in a bathroom right near this one three weeks ago.)

  1. Check the outside environment. Identify any threats and possible “helpers,” such as the grandfatherly-guy with the toddler in this video;
  2. Do a perimeter check of the free-standing bathroom building to be sure no one is lingering;
  3. Attempt to use the individual-use bathroom (which locks) first;
  4. If that’s locked or in use, open the door of the main women’s bathroom widely and check behind the door;
  5. Check all corners and all stalls;
  6. Use bathroom stall with purse on body (so it can’t be snatched over the door from the hook) and phone handy/ready to dial 911 (I also have a whistle handy.)
  7. Pee like your feet are on fire so you can get the hell outta there.
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