Lipi Chokshi had an unsettling experience on the subway in New York, where a man was watching her. She got off the train and approached a female stranger for help, but the man got up and started staring at her through the train doors.
Afterwords, bought a slew of self-protective devices after being attacked by a man. She posted about her purchase on TikTok, where hundreds of women commented about similar experiences and interest in the products.
The NYPD is concerned about an increase in violent crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. There have been 32 attacks so far this year.
Legal experts caution that people who use protective devices in the wrong situation could be in trouble with criminal laws as well as civil laws. It all depends on whether or not a "reasonable person" would have come to the same conclusion under the given circumstances.
Legal experts urge caution when carrying and using personal safety devices amid fears of attacks in the city. Psychologists say the mere possession of a weapon can make it easier to accept rising crime rates and the threat of danger.
Chokshi hasn't had to use her devices since the incident last February, but said they've helped her feel more secure.