How To Or Should You Intervene in a Self Defence Attack?
Imagine you are across the street and see a man aggressively grasping a woman’s arms. He is NOT striking her, but she is actively trying to distance herself from him, her body tense and expression pleading.
What do you do without knowing their relationship or what this dispute is over?
Do you shout something from a distance or draw nearer?
Do you intervene directly?
Do you call for help?
What if the man escalates his physical force on her or puts the focus on you?
What if both of them turn on you, and the woman tells you to mind your own business?
I ask because most people I speak to tell me they would jump in and attempt to “save” this woman. Most people would pretend they did not see what was happening and leave the situation.
Are you sure the decision to jump in and help her is the best? I ask because most people need to look past what they see at the end of the situation. You might leave thinking you have helped someone when it is the opposite.
Do you understand the cycle of domestic abuse and what may or may not happen after you have left, but you leave thinking you helped save someone?
I teach we need to understand violence from all sides of the issue. From the position of the one being victimized, the abuser, and the bystanders, not just one side.
What if the situation was reversed and the woman physically abused a male partner? Does your decision change?
I ask all these questions because too many people immediately jump to an answer that serves their ego but might not be better at the moment for the person they say they want to help.
There is far more to violence prevention than physical responses, although that might be the best answer. Every scenario is unique, and each person has a unique history of relationships, whether healthy or not.
Educate yourself on violence from a 360-degree angle to help make the best decisions for all involved.
Chris Roberts, Founder SAFE International