Should You Resist a Violent Attack?


Greg Ellifretz over at Active Response Training has a fascinating post today about the topic of resistance by victims of violent crimes. Greg takes a good look at the available research and concludes that, while each person must make their own decisions about whether, and how, to resist in any given assault, the standard advice that “the criminal won’t hurt you if you do what he says” is almost certainly wrong.

I’d like to quote part of Greg’s post, and then I’d like to talk about something he doesn’t discuss in detail: The empowerment that comes from fighting back, whether or not it increases the physical injury.

Greg writes:

Almost all studies show that resistance is successful in preventing the completion of a personal crime. This holds true in rape, robbery, and assault. Resistance is an especially effective tactic in preventing most rapes. A woman who physically resists a rapist doubles her chance of escaping rape.

Another study asked resisting victims of violent crimes whether their resistance helped or hurt their situations. The responding victims overwhelmingly stated that resistance helped them in the majority (63%) of cases. This statistic holds true for all of the crimes examined (rape, robbery, and assault). Resistance only hurt their situations about 9% of the time.

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