I recently received an interesting email from a reader named Sarah. She asked whether I write about real-life examples of crime victims using either their bare hands or their words to stop an attacker. The answer to her question and my thoughts on the subject can be seen below:
Do I write about unarmed self defense or verbal approaches to stop a criminal?
The short answer is no, I generally do not. On rare occasions, I will discuss cases where a crime victim has used a non-traditional weapon to defend themselves (e.g. this pizza delivery man who used a hot pizza in self defense). However, that is the exception, rather than the rule.
Why I don’t write about unarmed self defense
1. I don’t come across many news reports of successful unarmed self defense.
2. I do come across many news reports in which an unarmed crime victim tries to fight back against their attacker, but is unsuccessful. This is often true even when the crime victim in question had martial arts training.
Why I don’t write about verbal approaches to stop a criminal
1. I don’t come across many news reports of cases where a verbal request that the attacker cease and desist actually helped the victim.
2. Given that many criminals are willing to seriously harm or kill their victim – even after the victim fully cooperates – this approach seems to be dangerous and often futile. Indeed, a US Department of Justice Study found that fighting back against a rapist significantly reduced the likelihood that the rapist would complete the attack, and also did not significantly increase the likelihood that the woman would be injured by the rapist. That same study found, on the other hand, that “the only self-protective tactics that appear to increase the risk of injury significantly were those that are ambiguous and not forceful. These included stalling, cooperating and screaming from pain or fear.”