Ten Steps to Survive an Assault – The Self Defense Company

Ten Steps to Survive an Assault

Ten Steps to Survive an Assault

There is nothing more traumatic than being a victim of violence. The aftermath left in the wake of an assault, robbery or rape can be devastating and have lifelong effects. Having to defend yourself physically against these crimes is always the last resort. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do right now to discourage even the most hardened criminal from choosing you.

What is Violent Criminal?

A violent criminal is anyone who is willing to use force or threat of force to impose their will on you. This includes all situations with or without a weapon. Remember, their willingness to confront you tells you that there is nothing they won’t do to get what they want. They are not to be trusted, no matter how convincing.

How You Will Be Attacked?

In order for anyone to impose their will on you, they need to get close to you. Use of weapons increases their sphere of influence, but just the same, they need to get close to you in a manner that does not draw attention to the crime.

Criminals are cunning and not to be underestimated. They will use a variety of reasonable and plausible requests to close the distance on you. Anything from asking directions to asking for the time, they will use tactics designed to distract you. They will have accomplices that you don’t see. They will provide reasonable explanations that will get you to do what they need.


If You Are A Victim Of A Violent Crime

  1. Call the police.
  2. Do not shower or change. You are a crime scene. The next few hours will   be extremely difficult. You will have to be photographed and processed. The more intact the evidence is, the easier it will be to get a conviction.
  3. Get support. There are a variety of government agencies that are there to support victims of violent crimes (listed at the end of this article).

Understanding Violent Crime

The criminal picks victims based on ability, desire and opportunity. If you look like a good target, and the risk of your attacker getting caught, identified or injured is low, they will strike. Remember, the more desperate they are, junkies and emotionally disturbed people (EDP) the more brazen they will act because their desire to get what they want will override all other factors in the criminal equation.

How To Prevent From Being Targeted.

Become a Tough Target

  1. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. If something looks off, it probably is – leave the area immediately.
  2. Report suspicious behavior. If you see someone that looks out of place, call the police and security. You’re not bothering anyone. The community must be the eyes and ears of the police and more arrests have been made because of citizens contacting the police.
  3. Be Aware . In order to impose their will on you, your attacker needs to get close to you. This happens two ways: you approach them or they approach you. Always check your environment and look for places they could hide.
  4. Keep mobile and alert. Do not overburden yourself with packages and bags. Use shopping carts, make multiple trips and shop online.
  5. Remember where you parked. Write put a text note in your phone to remember where you have to go so you can walk with purpose and confidence.
  6. Have your cell phone at the ready. The stress of an emergency makes even simple tasks impossible. Be prepared to describe your location to police. Cross streets, landmarks and parking lot locations.
  7. Leave the Scene. As soon as you are approached, run, even if the criminal is armed. The chances of getting shot at are around 10% (Ref. Tough Target by JJ. Bittenbinder).
  8. Never Trust Your Assailant. They will reason with you to get you to go with them or comply in some way. Remember, they are always lying.
  9. Have Your Keys In One Hand and Your Pepper Spray In The Other. Personal alarms and pepper spray make great non-lethal defenses, but they will not do you any good if they are in the bottom of your purse or pocket. Keep your weapon in your hand and your bags on your shoulder and go.
  10. Take a Self Defense Course. Real training creates real awareness. This will help you mentally prepare yourself and think tactically.

The more challenging of a presence you have, the least likely you will be a victim. Be aware, have a plan and keep your eyes up and your head on a swivel, looking at your surroundings. Look people in the face so they know you are aware of them.

Agencies that are here to help you:

National Center for Victims of Crime

Downloadable “GetHelp” bulletins on all types of crime and victimization, victims’ rights, compensation, and civil justice, among many others. Toll-free helpline and email address for victims to receive information and referrals to services. Special information for teen victims of crime.


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Information for victims on safety planning, violence at the workplace, internet safety, and identity theft.


National Organization for Victim Assistance

Information on victimization, trauma, and how to find help. Specific information on crime victims with disabilities, elderly victims, and domestic violence. Criminal justice system glossary. Links to national and state victim resources.


National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Articles and other materials about sexual violence. Links to other victim resources.



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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. Excellent article Damien. This shows the depth of responsibility the SDC goes in order to train and advise anyone willing to listen. I’m proud to be a member of the SDTS. Thank you for your attention to detail and honesty. Aloha from Kauai!

  2. bogus

    cops steal more than muggers

    cops rape more than anybody in any other occupation

    cops approach, demand compliance, lie, rape(cavity search), kill (even when the victim has not committed a violation)

    cops collect rape evidence and throw the evidence away.

    cops get away with anything by claiming immunity…..SCOTUS always grants immunity summarily.

    the rest of the advice is excellent…and applies to interactions with cops or other thugs.

      1. People are shot by cops much more than you realize, especially minorities-the stats say blacks are 4X more likely to be shot y cops, than non-blacks. Indigenous people are 10X as likely to be shot by police, ITHOUT provocation. In the mid-late 70s, over 50 indigenous people in Az were missing, and murdered, and not invstigated or solved. in South Dakota the same, over 60 indigenous people were murdered. In Canada, RCMP and provincial police shoot more indiegnous poeple and get away with it than any other group. As a martial arts student, activist,and educator i am aware of this. I have worked with police, and have been on the front lines in indigenous protests, and other political work.

  3. Some years back–in, my early 60’s, I had walked to a Walmart store about 5 blocks from my home about 9 pm one autumn evening–had recently suffered a heart attack and was walking for my health. At about 5’8 and at 220 lbs, walking was a necessity. I’d stepped into the parking lot with my purchase and got up onto the concrete parking pad (cars park on either side of) and began heading east, back to my house. I saw what I judged to be a large, young guy walking south very fast. Suddenly, he turned in my direction and began walking toward me, but in his “lane” of the concrete pad. I paid him no attention until he began to “crabwalk” toward my “lane”, though not looking at me. I’d seen a cc video of a prison stabbing in which the assailant moved the same way across a corridor toward his unsuspecting victim. I went on hyperalert then and though I should have stepped off of the pad, I didn’t. When he got about one pace away, and perhaps 2 feet to my left, I took a double-size step, just as he lunged into the space I’d occupied a microsecond before. He nearly fell when he momentarily lost his balance. I turned toward him and shouted something, causing him to step back, and swivel his head around, probably checking for witnesses. He then said something about merely walking in the same direction as myself, and he “…didn’t mean to scare anyone…”. I said nothing. I’ve read–possibly on your site– that muggers often distract their victims with “conversation” to mask their attack. I stood my ground, and kept my eyes on him. He suddenly turned to his right and began again, briskly walking south. Never saw him again, and never walked to the store after dark again.

  4. I took a concealed carry course some time ago by the officer who trained trainees at the local police academy.
    The take away for me was…concealed carry was dangerous, gave you a false sense of confidence. Better to stay alert to
    your environment and avoid problems. Doing anything like shopping at night can present dangerous situations. Avoid places where people are drinking alcohol, often to excess.

  5. Concealed carry is an excellent tool in the toolbox. But it is absolutely not the be all, end all solution. Self-defense starts with situational awareness and controlling your environment, as you pointed out. There are situations where people need to defend themselves, but the deadly force of a firearm isn’t justified. Or in other cases, an attack may happen in such a way that it is impossible to get to a weapon, at least right away. This is why it is so important to know self-defense. The gun is just another tool. Not the only solution.

    Self Defense Company of West Michigan

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