Make Words Bigger or Smaller:

-A +A

Facebook Profile  Twitter Profile  Visit Our YouTube Channel

For Health, Safety, and a Better Life

Looking for a Specific Phrase? Use Quotation Marks (e.g. "healthy teeth")

Self-Advocate Resource: Tip Sheet - How to Defend Yourself - Fighting Back!

Woman fights back

Download and print the tip sheet here!

Para ver en español, haga clic aquí. Upang tingnan sa tagalog, mag-click ditto.

Danger signs that you might be harmed or hurt

  • Someone grabs, holds, pushes, slaps, or hits you.
  • Someone touches or kisses you without you saying it’s okay.
  • Someone yells, puts you down, or says hurtful things to you.

Things that help

  • Make eye contact — Look the attacker directly in the eye to say you are not afraid!
  • Breathe — Take a deep breath and calm yourself.
  • Focus — Focus on what to do to get to safety.
  • Get help — Call 911, report it to the police, talk to your supporters, and/or get help from an abuse prevention center. Keep seeking help until you are safe.

Defend yourself

Protect yourself when someone tries to hurt you. Here are some ways to defend yourself:

  • Surprise your attacker — Don’t be a quiet, passive victim. Surprise your attacker by making noise, saying “NO,” and/or walking or running away.
  • Give 100% effort — When you defend yourself, do one thing at a time and do it with 100% of everything you have whether you yell or run away.
  • If all else fails, wait — Let the situation progress, plan, and wait for a chance to get to safety.
  • As a last resort, defend yourself by physically fighting back — Use your body “defenders” — your elbow, your heel, your fist, your voice, and your head. A wheelchair or a cane can also be used as a defender. 

To get away quickly,

  1. Aim for a place on the attacker’s body that will hurt a lot.
  2. Look for a place on the body you can reach. 
  3. Distract the attacker so you can get to safety.

Some examples are included below:



  • Hit the attacker in between the ribs with your elbow.






  • Use your heel to stomp on top of the attacker’s foot.






  • Use your fist to hit the attacker in the nose.






  • Use your knee to hit the attacker in the groin.






  • Use your heel to kick the attacker in the shin.








  • Use your wheelchair to hit the attacker’s legs.





When you defend yourself, do what you have to do to get to safety!



Last updated on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 16:51