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Feminism: chat

Rape alarms

13 replies

Spudlet · 09/11/2021 08:11

I kind of hate that I even have to think about this, but I need a recommendation for a compact, reliable alarm. I put this thread into feminism because I hoped you would understand where I’m coming from with this, and also understand how pissed off I am to even need to ask tbh.

I’m training as a sports massage therapist, and long story short, I want a compact alarm that I can attach to the underside of my couch, at the head end. I plan to offer mobile services to women and clinic based services to all, but you never know - anyone could book under a female name or even coerce a woman into booking for them (and I know also about the whole self identification thing and don’t want much to get into it on this thread but… yeah), and in any case a clinic isn’t a magical shield against creepy bastards - I’ve heard some stories. I hope I’ll never need to use it - I have some male clients that I work on for practice and they’re all great guys. But once I’m putting my name and number out there, you never know.

I can’t wear a runangel as I use my forearms a lot, and I wouldn’t want one on my ankle - it would annoy the shit out of me and I resent the idea of essentially needing an ankle tag for the ‘crime’ of being a woman even more! So it needs to be attached to the couch, and small enough not to stop me from folding it up without setting it off.

I fucking hate that I have to think about this, and spend extra money on my safety that a male therapist wouldn’t need to. I fucking hate that the vast, vast majority of men in my life are decent guys but that I still have to look at men with a bit of suspicion because you just don’t know. I fucking hate that despite careful years of me trying to teach it, it still thinks I mean ducking when I really do not. But there we go. The world shouldn’t be this way but it is, and I - we - have to live in it as well as try to change it.

If you don’t think this is the correct forum for this thread, please let me know and I’ll ask for it to be moved.

OP posts:

Thelnebriati · 09/11/2021 10:16

All they do is make a loud noise, so you want a really loud one.
If you ask your local police, they might give you safety advice and a free alarm; where I live they give out a 140 db alarm like this which retails for about £8. It has a test button so you can check the battery still has a charge;

You have a number of things to consider;
How bad does the situation have to be before you use it?
What happens when you press the alarm (assuming you are able to reach it)?
Who else is supposed to react, and how. Is there a receptionist in the building, can they hear it?
How is your assailant likely to react?
What legal liability do you have?
Have you put up liability/warning signs warning that aggression towards staff won't be tolerated?
Do you have liability insurance, are there any conditions in the policy you need to be aware of? 140db might harm your hearing (and your assailants) if the room is small so remove the battery and practice turning it off.


LaBellina · 09/11/2021 10:18

Very good post from @Thelnebriati

I have a small one for in my bag to use outside but inside might be a different situation.


Babdoc · 09/11/2021 10:29

Unless you have a security guard at your clinic, or people who would immediately respond and come to your rescue, an alarm that just makes a noise is not much use, and may anger the rapist into being even more violent.
Being able to temporarily incapacitate the rapist, lock him in the room, and run for help, would be more useful. I would recommend krav maga training. My DD found it brilliant, and now volunteers to provide security at feminist meetings. She can floor any size of assailant in seconds, from any attack position, even if choked from behind.


Spudlet · 09/11/2021 15:03

Thank you, lots of food for thought there.

Just to answer a couple of questions:
I do hold full liability insurance as a student and will as a practicing therapist - you’d be nuts not to, I think! I will look into the Ts & Cs though.

I will make acceptable behaviour policies (aggressive and lewd behaviour) clear on my website and include them in booking confirmation emails.

I also need to include this in my personal risk assessment - making sure doors remain unlocked, parking to escape, keeping car keys in easy reach and so on.

I will be looking for a clinic setting that has someone on-site - some therapy spaces don’t have that, and I don’t particularly like it. I don’t want to be alone in the building, otherwise I may as well not bother with the cost of renting a space.

I do think that I will look into self defence classes - one of my classmates said her club does a free women’s class so I will ask her about that next time I see her.

This all feels like another woman tax 😕 Thank you for the advice though, I appreciate it.

OP posts:

BornInAThunderstorm · 09/11/2021 15:06

Rather than a rape alarm can you get an alert app on your phone like Holly Guard and speak with a friend or relative who will be notified if you set it off?


Spudlet · 09/11/2021 17:00

I have looked at those, but the problem is that I’m rural and don’t get signal everywhere. So what I really want is something to temporarily surprise an attacker and give me the chance to get out. I will be operating a check in and out system with DH though - I text him when I arrive and again when I’m leaving, and we can track one another on Find My Friends. In reality, I suspect a more likely scenario is comments, someone asking for a happy ending (🤮), that sort of thing, rather than an out and out physical assault. But I want to be prepared.

OP posts:

Thelnebriati · 10/11/2021 11:16

I think you may have identified the need for a new product; a sturdy one that can be triggered easily, but that sends an alert message instead of just making a noise.


EightWheelGirl · 25/11/2021 23:12

I think ironically male massage therapists probably worry more about being accused of indecent behaviour than being victims.

At risk of sounding dismissive (really not my intention) are you sure you're not being a tiny bit paranoid. You say you hate that you have to think about it, but I've known a few sports massage people over the years and this isn't something any of them seemed very concerned about


Littleants · 26/11/2021 23:55

Remember that rape alarms are a way of screaming when you cannot. They are of no help otherwise.


LobsterNapkin · 27/11/2021 00:54

I would be looking at some sort of panic alarm that alerts security or the police, I don't think a rape alarm is going to do what you want.

Security companies often install these for doctors offices, so I would call and ask them what they recommend. They've always been under a counter or desk where I have worked, but in your situation there might be a more sensible location and I wouldn't be surprised if they have done it for similar types of businesses before.


Caramellatteplease · 27/11/2021 06:21

Adapted from police advice as a teen, I'd "carelessly" leave an air fresher aerosol open on the side or under the bed. If you need it, spray for the eyes. Can't put that on a risk assessment though.


Thefuturestory · 27/11/2021 06:35

Have a look a solo protect. Might be too expensive but good system.


NothingTraLaLa · 27/11/2021 06:39

In relation to the mobile services, could you phone the client in advance if you don’t already - to ask about parking or allergies or other arrangements, assuming they’ve booked online? That should give you a heads up as to whether they’re really female,

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