Staying safe on a night out
Speaking from experience, James shares his night out nightmare
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"My dad had always (wisely) told me and my brother if we were ever attacked to just hand over our stuff – safety first."
Personal safety is something we often take for granted. You never really expect any of these dark, dangerous situations you see on TV to actually happen. Sure, there are parts of your local area you avoid; maybe certain people you have been told from a young age to steer clear of.
Keeping out of trouble is naturally important. Both for your personal safety and your parents’ sanity! Here’s my story of one time I did not keep out of trouble…
I was on a night out in Dublin with a couple of friends. We’d been to the infamous Coppers (and, to be honest, I still love Coppers). I’d had a few drinks and wouldn’t say I was very drunk but I was definitely tipsy; I wasn’t at 100%. During the night, we ended up getting separated. I was staying with a friend out in Drumcondra so I started making my way back towards that direction. I was down Grafton Street when I realised my first mistake: I’d no money. I wasn’t working at the time and this night out was on borrowed funds which had gone on those few drinks and the tenner into Coppers.
Making my way home
Undeterred, I kept going. I mulled over my options. I could (a) do the smart thing and get a taxi to my friend’s house and wake her up to pay him and then pay her back or (b) the not-so-smart thing and walk. I chose the not-so-smart thing. Mistake number 2! Now, to some, the walk to Drumcondra from Dublin city centre might seem a bit ridiculous but I’d done it several times in groups or with friends and knew it wasn’t too far, so I set off.
It was the first time I’d done it alone though; so was trying to get directions on my phone (mistake 3 – using a smartphone in lonely, dodgy area). I came to an unfamiliar area and wasn’t sure whether to turn off or keep going so asked a guy walking past. On this occasion, this was mistake 4; though I didn’t realise. Once I found my way again, I crossed over into a residential area and started heading for the house. Then, I got mugged. Phone and wallet gone, fractured nose and a few cuts and bruises but in all honesty, it could’ve been a lot worse.
My dad had always (wisely) told me and my brother if we were ever attacked to just hand over our stuff – safety first. Material items aren’t as important. Instinct kicked in though and, cue mistake 5, I defended myself. I tried lashing out, which resulted in a few kicks to the face (hence the fractured nose) so I relinquished my belongings and he left.
Fast-forward a couple of hours and I’m back at my friend’s house, phoneless, penniless and fresh from the Garda station.
The point I want to make here is that though this situation wasn’t my fault, there were steps I could’ve taken to avoid it. What I’ve learned is these few tips:
- Always stay in a group, try to find your friends if you can and leave together. Safety in numbers. It’s a cliché but you’re less likely to fall victim of ill fate in a group!
- Keep money in your sock or somewhere safe, for emergencies like taxis. Resist the urge to get that last drink!
- Drink sensibly. I’m not saying don’t drink, ever, but just keep in mind that being drunk makes you easy prey.
- Avoid unfamiliar territory. Had I known exactly where I was going, I wouldn’t have needed to ask a mugger for directions.
- Don’t ever think that things like this won’t happen to you. Us young people kinda think we’re invincible which really just isn’t true!
Overall, be careful. It’s not very nice to be the victim of an attack and personal safety is so important, I can’t emphasise that enough. Obviously, you can’t hide away from the world to avoid things like this completely, but be mindful of things you can do to prevent them happening!