The reality of life as a woman in 2019 was put into plain sight thanks to one woman's now-viral tweet.
Amanda Deibert, a television and comic book writer, tweeted about a subject that she sees women talking about often in her neighborhood moms group — all the things they use and think about to protect themselves while exercising outside.
Deibert, who is a mother to a 4-year-old daughter, said the women in her group were talking specifically about what they take with them for protection when they use a well-lit and often-used trail in their Los Angeles neighborhood.
"Everyone had an answer and there were lots of answers," Deibert said. "It made me think of all the things that I do without thinking about it, like never going at night, never going alone, the times I’ve walked with keys between my knuckles."
"When I was reading the thread that all just kind of hit me, that is something we all do, all the time, without thinking about it," she said. "The nonchalance of it is what hit me and why I tweeted it."
Deibert's tweet sparked thousands of likes, retweets and comments, both from women remarking on what they do and from men saying they can't believe everything that women go through.
"My daughter runs with a vest and we modified it to carry a knife which she knows how to use to devastating effect," wrote one commenter.
"I’m in a women’s running group and it has to be the most common thread. For me it’s my knife. Highly common answer across the board is their guns though," wrote another.
"i've said this before but i will say it again. when i am out running i intentionally run out into the street to give space to women on the sidewalk. i don't view myself as scary or threatening but that is irrelevant to how many women feel out there," one man wrote in response to Deibert's tweet.
"It took a lot of reading for me to understand how women move through society," wrote another man.
Deibert said that even though the thread on safety was long-running in her mom's group, she was still taken aback by the reaction to her tweet.
"I didn’t even think about it as something controversial, it was more like an observation and a question of what do you use," she said. "It speaks to how universal it is, that every woman does have an answer to this question."
A self-defense expert's advice for women
Last year, the stories of two women — one in Washington D.C. and one in Iowa — who were attacked and killed after going out for jogs sparked fear and outrage.
"Good Morning America" spoke to a self-defense expert at the time about the ways women can empower themselves.
"For me, teaching is about giving as many choices as possible in these horrible situations," said Jennifer Cassetta a self-defense expert and creator of the "Stilettos and Self Defense" DVDs. "It’s about knowing that you have that power."
Cassetta stays away from the stereotypical advice for women like not running alone and not wearing headphones.
"A man would say that," she said of the advice.
Instead, she gives women self-defense advice that she says doesn't "punish" them. Cassetta noted that even taking one self-defense class can make a huge difference.
Here are Cassetta's top three self-defense tips for women
1. Know the weapons you have on your body and how to use them
Run or walk powerfully with your shoulders back and head up, making eye contact with every person in your path, Cassetta said.
If you are attacked, dropping down to a squat or a lunge will drop your center of gravity and make you harder to throw to the ground, said Cassetta.
To fight back, Cassetta said to "acquire and fire."
"The eyes, throat and groin are most effective targets because they are all soft targets where you can do the most amount of damage with the least amount of effort," she said. "Scratch or gouge the eyes, give a punch to the throat to disrupt breathing and give a punch or a knee or an elbow to the groin."
2. Be aware of your surroundings
Women should be "alert but calm" when they're out and about, scanning for red flags and not getting too deep into thought, Cassetta said.
"When we’re being alert, our intuition is our inner GPS, it gives us signals and sends us messages," she said. "If we’re too caught up in our to-do list or what we’re stressed about, we can’t hear it."
When it comes to hearing, Cassetta also said don't go without headphones, but do have the volume low enough so that you can hear the sounds around you.
Also, let other people know of your surroundings too. Designate a friend or family member as your "safety buddy," the person you text to let them know when and where you are running and when you will return.
3. Arm yourself
The types of "non-lethal weapons" Cassetta recommends women arm themselves with include pepper spray, a personal alarm and a sharp object worn as a piece of jewelry — what she calls "weapon jewelry."
"They make you that much more aware because you’re holding onto it and aware of it," she said. "But you need to make sure you know how to use them. If you have pepper spray, make sure you know how to use it and have it accessible."