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How to Disable an Attacker

The trick to getting away from an assailant – even one who's bigger and stronger than you are – is to hit 'em where it hurts.


  • : Fighting back against an assailant is risky and could lead to injury – only do so if you have no other choice.
  • Step 1: Gouge their eyes Jab their eyes with your fingers, thumb, or a key: The attacker will instinctively try to protect their eyes, giving you a chance to escape. Even spitting at their eyes might give you the split second you need to break away.
  • TIP: Hold their ear with one hand as you jab their eyes with the other; it will help you inflict the damage you need to escape.
  • Step 2: Take the wind out of them Spread your fingers away from your thumb and jam the webbed part of your hand against their windpipe; the heel of your hand can work, too. Or grab their windpipe with your fingers and squeeze as hard as you can. If you're in a position to use your elbow, ram that into their throat.
  • Step 3: Bloody their nose Open your hand, pull it back, and then smash the heel of your palm under their nose in an upward motion. Besides making their nose bleed profusely, this will cause their eyes to water, temporarily limiting their vision.
  • Step 4: Go for the groin If the attacker is male, grab his testicles and squeeze with all your might. If this isn't possible, knee him in the groin.
  • TIP: Never try to kick someone in the groin; it makes it possible for them to grab you by the foot or leg.
  • Step 5: Bring them to their knees Kick them on the side of their kneecap; you'll inflict a lot of pain while minimizing the risk that they'll be able to grab your leg. If you find yourself behind your attacker, kick the back of their knee; there's a good chance it will cause them to collapse.
  • Step 6: Step on their toes If someone grabs you from behind, raise your leg and then slam it down on their toes or instep. Besides inflicting pain, it may hinder their ability to run after you.
  • Step 7: Raise a ruckus Make as much noise as you can; it increases the chance that your attacker will abandon you in favor of finding a more docile victim.
  • TIP: Safety experts recommend that you yell "Back off!" rather than "help," because people are inclined to ignore the latter.
  • Step 8: Take a course Consider taking a self-defense course so you can practice and perfect these moves.
  • FACT: Research shows that women who fight back during an assault avoid rape more often than those who don't.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge of the human anatomy
  • Bravery
  • A self-defense course (optional)

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