[b]Fighting Myths - “Don’t fight back or the attacker will become more enraged and hurt you worse.”[/b]
It is amazing that various self-defense instructors and other “experts” in the field are still spreading this myth. Yet every month I hear of cases of people being told this. Probably well meant but horribly misguided, this strong myth has led to many disastrous incidents.
Although Law Enforcement agencies have taken the “don’t fight back” stance in the past, they now have done a complete reversal of mindset. Current evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of fighting back. So why is this myth still so often prescribed? My theory is that past inadequate training, poor socialization of women, and “good ole boy” mentality historically conditioned women to play the consummate victim. With all this conditioning to fight against, women in general were typically not empowered to fight back. In fact to the contrary, women were taught to be “nice” and “not make a scene”.
Thus there were most likely many incidents where women made half-hearted frail attempts to resist, which may have lead to greater severity in the attacks, causing law enforcement agencies to take the “no fight” stance. The difficulty increases when you add the statistic that approximately 75% of assaults on women are committed by someone they know.
It’s one thing to deal with an attack in a dark alley when it’s very clearly an assault. It’s a whole other thing when it’s someone the victim knows, maybe even likes, respects, or even loves. The role of “caretaker” for which women are so famous and which we men are so grateful, further inhibits taking strong action in self-defense. Then there is what I refer to as the “good ole boy” network that is invested in preventing women from being strong and empowered. Although slowly changing, this network is still unfortunately very alive and well.
From Law Enforcement agents to politicians, executives to teachers, this fear-based mentality continues to exist and proliferate the victimization of women. Recently I heard of a High School gym teacher who told female students to just “relax” and “take it” if attacked. His advice was that they should carry condoms to have their attacker “cooperatively” wear while raping them. Incidentally, this golden pearl of wisdom was made in the presence of the boys in the class.
So much for the education of our youth.
People flock to Karate schools to learn self-defense. Lacking adrenal stress conditioning skills, instructors taught the same old traditional methods that were learned from their instructors. Much of this was useless in real situations. I personally struggled with this for years, training in Karate while at night I would experience real fights where my Karate skills helped very little. Yet to be fair we had no other paradigm to work from until the fairly recent advent of FAST Defense Training.
Yet even against all these odds, fighting back was often successful. The vast majority of attackers are disempowered individuals looking for a sense of control or power in their lives. They are looking for a victim and do not want or expect a fight. When the alleged “victim” does not respond accordingly, most assailants will back off.
Are there times when a victim should choose not to fight back? Not many, but sometimes Yes. When the alleged victim feels that they have a better chance of surviving if they acquiesce than if they do not. These cases are rare. Such a case may be an armed gang attack where the odds of successful defense are almost impossible. Or perhaps to save a loved one. But the operative word is that the person should “choose” to submit, or “choose” to fight back. No matter what the end result, FAST Defense Training arms a person with many new choices and the power to act on those choices. And even if they choose to cooperate, their mental and emotional states are better than if they were simply victims, since they still have exercised their power of choice.