I know the general advice is to carry something but please don't carry anything illegal. In my country, carrying a weapon (even pepper spray) would get you into way more trouble than someone attacking you would get into. Look up the laws and don't risk it. It's much more important to be aware, to be able to de-escalate situations, to build up your physical strength and to be prepared than it is to carry a weapon that you might not even have time to take out. A lot of people feel
safe with a weapon (and that's great if you do) but if you're untrained and have less strength than your attacker, it's going to be incredibly easy for them to take it off you and use it against you. Plus, like >>1393
said, we know most of our attackers and they prey on the fact that you know/trust them so they know damn well you're not going to pull out a weapon on them.
Ask yourself: >Do I know what a dangerous situation looks like? If a guy had me on the ground with my legs spread open, would I know how to escape? If a guy was choking me, would I know how to remove his hands from my throat? If a guy had me in a headlock, how would I protect my larynx? Where are a man's most vulnerable parts (there are more than just the genitalia!)? Am I prepared to do anything to escape from a bad situation? How would my body react in a bad situation, would it freeze or would I know automatically what to do?
If you said no to any
of the above, you need self-defense training. If someone grabs your throat, you won't have time to think about what to do while you're passing out. You need to have an immediate
reaction and you can only achieve that through muscle memory. Go to a class with a bunch of friends, it's a real bonding experience. You can practice the moves together long after you've finished the class, to keep it fresh in your memory. I have gained so much confidence thanks to self defense classes and I recommend them to every woman I talk to. It's skills you'll have for life and while I can't carry a weapon in my country and I'm not some huge body-builder, I'm still confident that I can escape some of the most common grabs and I have no fear of a guy being on top of me because it's the most stupid and vulnerable position he could be in and I'm ready to cause him some pain :)