A woman has choices on how to defend herself, but no tactic is foolproof. Whether a rapist is a stranger or an acquaintance, the same tactics may be used to resist or escape. What you do depends on the kind of person you are, your assailant and the situation.

Being prepared can be the best defense against an attacker. Imagine what you would do if attacked.  Consider your abilities and coping style. If attacked, act immediately.

The following are tips for you to remember when faced with am impending assault:

Verbal strategies

  • Speaking calmly in order to reduce your assailant’s rage may help. Crying, reasoning and pleading may help as well; but keep in mind that attempting to make the rapist feel guilty may provoke anger.
  • Stall if you don’t believe that you can escape. Buy time with any method that may cause the assailant to let his guard down. Engaging him in conversation or pretending you are ill may prove effective.

Other non-contact strategies

  • Disgust your assailant by claiming you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or your period; urinate, fake a convulsion, even vomit.
  • Screaming may work if you are in a populated area. Yelling “Fire” is also an effective strategy designed to get help from strangers.
  • If possible, run toward lights, buildings, the street – anywhere you are likely to find other people.

Fighting back

  • Body alarms are devices that when pulled, trigger a loud piercing sound which attracts attention to you. For information on these, contact Victims Assistance Services at (914) 345-3113 or your local police department.
  • Physically resisting makes sense if you are certain the rapist is unarmed and if you think it won’t make him angrier. If you think that your natural reaction would be to fight, make sure you are aware of an attacker’s vulnerable body areas such as the groin, eyes and Adam’s Apple.
  • Use anything that may help you escape, but consider that any weapon you use may be taken by the rapist and used against you. Use only what is easily available. Some examples are: combs, keys, pins, hairspray, or various other aerosol sprays.
  • Guns are another means of self-protection, but they are very dangerous. Statistics show that it is more likely that a gun will be used against you than to protect you against an attack. If you do decide to carry a handgun, it is absolutely necessary for you to license it and learn how to use it correctly. It could mean your life.