I have two black belts in karate, one in empty handed and one in weapons. I am a former instructor in a karate school and have taught self-defense classes. These are some practical things I teach my students
Always walk with confidence.
Be aware of what is going on around you.
Look a potential attacker in the eyes.
If you suspect that you are being followed, turn around and face the person, looking him in the eyes, tell him if he does not leave immediately you are going to scream and follow through.
If you are going to end up being alone on an elevator with a man and you are uncomfortable with this, get off and wait for another elevator.
When you are out at night, hold your key ring in the palm of your hand and have the keys pointing out between your fingers. Use them like brass knuckles if you need to. An attacker is usually alert to things like this and will usually not attack someone who looks like they are prepared for a fight.
Trust your instincts, if a situation doesn't feel safe, get out.
The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you. Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than in you, and he will go for the wallet or purse. Then RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out a back tail light, then stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating or working, and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.). DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead, gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your airbag will save you. If the person is in the back seat he/she will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes, bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:
A. Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat
If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and on the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard or policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places
to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!
If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! A predator will only hit a running target (you) four out of a hundred times. And even then, he most likely WILL NOT hit a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!
As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped,
or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked for "help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Cry out to God for help (Scream) -- Men have a natural tendency to react to a woman's scream.
Do the opposite of whatever they tell you to do. -- When they say "Don't turn around, or don't run away etc. they are telling you what they are afraid to have you do.