How to Survive a Personal Assault

Even in “normal” times, there are those people out there who are prone to violence and theft, including home invasion, armed robbery or assault. The problem is that these people exist and wreak havoc even when they know that police and other authorities are available to pursue them.

Following a natural disaster or SHTF, these criminals know that police and other authorities will be less available and basically much slower to respond to calls for help and in fact, emergency systems may not even be functioning.  This means the number of assaults, robberies, and rapes will most likely increase during a post-SHTF scenario.

Unfortunately, there is no way that you can predict when or where a personal assault or rape will occur. There are however, some things that you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim and to defend your turf against invasion and defend yourself against a personal assault both pre and post-SHTF.

Environmental Awareness

The first step to preventing a personal assault is to know your environment. The more you know about the areas you travel to and from, you can avoid dangerous areas. In addition, knowing the area will help you to escape quickly via an alternate route if you become aware of someone following you or about to attack you. This means that when you enter a building you make a note of where the stairs and exits are located.

You should know the layout of streets and alleys around your home and place of work and know exactly how to get to a police station or other safe place (in a WROL scenario) from your home or work. If you are out in public, take note of where security guards are posted in case you need their aide quickly.

Situational Awareness

The first thing to know about preventing personal assault following a post-SHTF event or even in “normal” times, is to be alert and aware of your surroundings. The best defense against a personal assault is to avoid confrontation and run away. Unfortunately, most victims are caught off-guard by their attacker because they were distracted or not paying full attention to their surroundings. The brief window of time, between the point an attacker targets you and their initial attack, is your best chance to escape unharmed.

Many self-defense articles talk about being aware of your situation. It can a simple habit such as getting your keys out of your purse while still inside a building, walking from your home or work to your car with your car keys in hand and ready to use as a weapon if you are attacked, and checking under your car as you approach and in the back seat before you unlock the door and get inside.

To practice being situationally aware, you need to pay attention to changes in the weather, notice a strange car parked across from your building several nights in a row, or the change in the pattern or pitch of the neighbor’s barking dog. Listen to changes in voice patterns of the people in the crowd behind you, notice if someone is walking slower or faster than the rest of the crowd, or if the same person keeps showing up throughout your day. These little warning signs will give you the extra time you need to make your escape before an attacker can overwhelm you.

Carry Weapons

Every adult individual should be prepared to defend themselves in the event that a confrontation cannot be avoided or you come under surprise attack. For many people, this means guns and ammunition. If you choose to carry a gun, make sure you take the time to learn how to use it and to select the right gun for your skill level. We have great articles on guns for home defense and  how to hide them effectively.

If guns just aren’t for you or if you prefer to have a back-up to your gun, there are also many different non-lethal methods of self-defense such as mace, pepper spray, and handheld weapons such as tactical pens, flashlights, and stun devices, that you can be prepared to use. It’s also a good idea to learn how and where to use everyday items such as keys, pens, letter openers, frying pans, etc. to defend yourself if necessary and give you that extra few minutes to escape from an attacker. If you know where to strike and can strike hard enough, many very ordinary items can become weapons of self-defense.

Stay Physically Fit

The other thing that you can do every day to increase your odds of surviving a personal assault is to stay physically fit. One of the best ways to avoid physical assault is to run from an attacker when you get the chance. Having an extra few minutes to escape won’t do any good if you aren’t in good enough shape to run fast and without stopping until you get to safety. The last you want is to have to stop to catch your breath and have your attacker capture you because they will be angry that you ran in the first place and may do you more harm.

Fortify Your Home

We’ve already said the best way to survive a personal assault is to avoid becoming a target. One way to do that is to make sure that your home is fortified against any unwanted intruders. Make use of fencing, exterior lighting, and professionally installed alarm systems so that you can deter intruders from targeting your home to begin with.

You can also reinforce windows, doors, and sliding glass doors against intruders. Replace wooden doors and frames with steel ones. Reinforce deadbolts and consider using something like a floor brace or barricade that prevents or at least makes it more difficult for the door to be kicked in or shoved open once you are safe inside. You can also install this type of brace on at least one interior room door, so if intruders do get into the home you can retreat to that room.

Surprise Home Assaults

No matter how much you plan and fortify your home, there’s always the chance that someone will be able to get inside anyhow. It could be you forgot to lock the back door, neglected to close your bedroom window before you left work, or left the garage door unlocked. Whatever the circumstance, you could be surprised by an attacker who has already gained entry to your home.

As soon as you realize there is an intruder inside your home, your primary goal should be to get out of the house and run for help or to a safe location. Do not confront an intruder if it can be avoided. Prepare a one-word code that you can yell to warn other family members to flee the home. The best defense against a personal assault or rape is to prevent it from occurring by taking yourself out of the situation.

Dan’s Note: you also don’t want to use your safe room unless you really have to. Unless you’re in a WROL post-collapse society, you’re safer outside than in. However, if there are more of them, you might want to reconsider. Ultimately, this is something you’ll figure out when the time comes.

In order to be prepared for a surprise home assault, there are some things you need to know and practice. First of all, it’s very important to know what to do and how to react if someone grabs you unexpectedly. For example, here are some simple self-defense moves that can help you get away if someone attacks you unexpectedly from behind.

If you are unable to escape and you end up being tied up or handcuffed inside your home, knowing these tricks can help you escape your restraints. Don’t let your attacker see that you are trying to get out of your restraints. Once you’re out of the restraints, your goal again is to get out of the house undetected if possible and run for safety, not to confront the attacker. As difficult as it may be, if you get free, go for help rather than taking a risk to get any other family members out of the house.

If it becomes clear that you aren’t going to escape and that your attacker is intent on assaulting you sexually or otherwise harming you, try talking to your attacker so that he/she sees you as a person. Talk about your children who need you, reassure him/her that you won’t contact authorities, reveal hidden valuables in exchange for your freedom, anything you think might persuade them to leave you unharmed.

Dan’s Note: If you can, talk to them as loudly as possible. Neighbors might hear you and he might bail at that point. Even if they can’t, he doesn’t know that. Also, never comply with him when he tells you to find a knife or rope. Make it as hard as possible for him to harm you.

Final Word

There is no way to predict when a personal assault or rape will take place, so your only defense is to take steps now to be as prepared as you can be to protect yourself and your family. Make the time to execute drills with your family. Practice self-defense techniques so that when danger presents itself, you will be more likely to act quickly and instinctively.

About Megan Stewart

Megan Stewart
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

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