Unless someone actually jumps out and attacks you, there may be a chance to prevent a situation from slipping in to violence. Look at you potential attacker. Compare their size and weight and apparent strength with your own. Is it likely that the attacker is armed? Look for:
- Long hair and clothing you could grab.
- Heavy boots/shoes which might cause serious injury.
- Friends--yours or the attackers--who may come to your defense or become otherwise involved.
- A red face, flushed with blood, implies that the attacker is not ready for fighting, otherwise the blood would be diverted to the muscles.
- A white, thin-lipped face and 'tight' voice imply that violence is imminent.
- Follow your instincts. If you have a feeling that there is a problem, there usually is one.
- A fist shaken at you or emphatic hand gestures, including a lot of pointing, may pre-empt violence.
- Are you restricted in movement by your clothing, especially by your footwear?
- Is there anywhere nearby which would give you an advantage? Higher ground?
Try to diffuse the situation by using words and talking out of it. Pretend to not speak the language. You might calmly say:
PREPARING TO FIGHT BACK
- There is no need to hit me. If you want my money, here it is.
- I know you are angry but I don't want to fight you.
- When a mugger demands money, he/she may be very nervous. Usually a short demand or a threat is made. Rapists, similarly, may just make short, sharp statements.
- One way of dealing with the situation is to start talking about yourself, where you are going, about your ill health- which may begin to make you more of a person. The attacker may start to relate to you more as a person and less as a victim and lose concentration, giving you the opportunity to escape. Stay calm. There may be nothing you can do to avoid a physical confrontation.
The time to decide how and if you will fight back is NOW. No one can make the decision for you. Evidence suggests that people who have at least attempted to fight back bear less psychological scars than those who have not tried to defend themselves. Obviously every situation is different, only you can judge what you must do. If you do fight back, get angry and give it everything you have. You don't have to fight fairly, your attacker won't! During the confrontation, take any opportunity you can to escape, alert the police or reach safety. This isn't weak, it is sensible.
CARRY A SMALL PERSONAL ALARM
CARRY A WEAPON
- Get one that is small and loud to scare off potential attackers.
USE IMPROVISED WEAPONS
- Learn to use a knive, gun, club, or aerosol sprays. Check the laws, some may be illegal.
- Coins from your pocket can be thrown in an attacker's face.
- Wrap them up in a handkerchief and use as a club.
- Use your bag, purse, briefcase, aim for the head.
- Umbrellas and walking sticks can be used as clubs or jabbed into feet or stomach, or brought up between the legs to an attacker's groin.
- Hard-soled shoes are essential to be able to kick effectively. Aim for the groin. Scrape your shoe down a shin.
- High heels should be aimed at an attacker's foot or hand. Putting all her weight on a thin heel means an average woman can exert a pressure of nearly three-quarters of a ton!
- You cannot run in high heels. Take them off and throw them, or use them to strike the attacker.
- A powerful flashlight may dazzle an attacker and also could make a handy club.
- Grab a handful of dirt, gravel or sand and throw it into the attacker's face.
- Roll up a newspaper and jab it end first into the face or stomach.
- Jab a credit card, comb, hairbrush, anything into the upper lip below the nose.
- Scrape a comb across the attacker's face or back of the hand.
- Dig a pen or pencil into the attacker's hand or face, the attacker's impulse may be to defend the eyes.
- Jab or scratch with keys.
- Powder from a compact may temporarily blind an attacker.
- Perfume, hairspray or deodorant can be sprayed into an attacker's eyes.
- Take fingers pointed out and jab into eyes.
- Use the palm of the hand and thrust into lower jaw and push up and back. Then take knee and strike it into the groin.