Know yourself and what you’re willing to fight for. This can’t be a game-time decision…it must involve some soul-searching and personal inventory well before you’re faced with an attacker, an intruder, a mugger or any potentially life-threatening situation.
If you’re suddenly accosted by someone who is trying to take your wallet or purse, you need to know whether to toss it away (YES, in almost every case), or potentially risk your life and personal safety by trying to keep it. If someone you don’t know knocks at your door, will you open it? What determines your answer? And if an intruder tries to force his way into your car or home, how will you react?
There are many factors that should influence your answer: Is help available? Are you the only person under threat? Is your assailant armed? Do you know your attacker? Can you safely escape? Are you able to talk with the person and/or deescalate the situation? What weapons are available to you? Are you willing to defend yourself with force? Have you considered the consequences (legal, ethical, moral) of injuring or maiming another person, or perhaps taking a life? What if your actions cause harm to an innocent person?
Consider the criminal mindset
Remember…you are likely the only one trying to be rational or socially acceptable. Someone who knows he or she is intentionally breaking the law and has chosen to do so does not share your law-abiding mindset. They’re not concerned about your future, or how their actions affect you, your family, your health or your life. You and/or your possessions are a consumable resource to them.
Planning ahead and knowing your own values and level of commitment will help you make quick and possibly life-saving decisions in the event of a crisis.
Decide if you’re willing to fight…and what you’re willing to fight for. You may be able to toss away your purse or wallet without hesitation, or surrender your vehicle to a carjacker, but will you comply with an attacker who intends to rape you? What about someone who threatens your spouse or child? Think through possible scenarios and where you draw the line. If you don’t set boundaries, you can’t respond quickly and with commitment.
When you decide to fight, commit
If you are faced with a situation that you will fight for, commit to it 100%. If you’re fighting for your life, fight like your life depends on it. If you hit, hit like you’re trying to go all the way through your attacker’s body. If you scratch, try to claw all the way to the bone or gouge an eye out. Don’t stop defending yourself until the attack has ceased and there is no longer a threat.
There is no such thing as fighting fair; this isn’t the school playground, and there’s no referee. If you’ve decided to fight, you’re fighting for your life or something/someone you care dearly about. Once a “fight” situation is resolved (e.g. the intruder has run away, your attacker is disabled, the rapist has left), no matter what the situation is…call the police.
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