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Some women's purses are awfully heavy. As you walk, wrap the straps of your purse around your wrist. Then firmly grasp the handle(s) with your fist. If anyone dares approach you – start clobbering the suspect with your purse. It likely won't do any permanent damage but will give you an object between you and the attacker.
Contents of your purse can also be used as a weapon. Carry an ink pen with you as you walk – the sharp tip will do serious damage if poked into an eye, temple, or neck. Don't have any pepper spray? Your spray bottle of perfume will deter any would-be attackers? Spray the wonderful aroma directly into the eyes of an offender; it'll buy you a few seconds to run in the opposite direction.