One of the hallmarks of self defense is to expect the unexpected. Women especially must be careful of their own protection. It’s best to plan ahead for the worst-case scenario and then hope that you will never need the knowledge.
Not everyone is comfortable carrying a weapon on their person, but if you are, it’s best to keep it in a place that is easy to get to. For example, keeping a light-weight gun in your purse might make you feel more secure, but if you get attacked, more than likely you won’t have time to unbuckle, unzip or unstrap your bag to retrieve your weapon in a timely manner. A much better plan is to carry the weapon on your person in a concealed shoulder holster or strapped to your ankle. That way, it’s not visible to an attacker and easier for you to grab if need be.
There are plenty of self-defense classes taught especially for women. These classes teach you specifically how to fend off attacks from the front, back, and how to free your hands. There are also lessons in the most vulnerable spots on the male body and how to use your smaller stature to your advantage. Another route might be to take a karate or taekwondo class to build up your strength and focus. These classes are more general in nature and not specifically designed to ward off an attack in your home or in the street, but they will probably make you more confident in your ability to do so.
Keeping your home well-lit is a deterrent for criminals who might seek to do you harm. Very few people get attacked in broad daylight for a reason. You don’t have to light your home up like a Christmas tree, but do an honest assessment of the shadowy areas that stand between you and making it into your house safely.
Hoping you never get attacked is not a good self-defense plan. It’s better to take action steps towards keeping yourself as safe as possible.