Violent Attack Survivor Wants To Help Others

by | Aug 11, 2021

As we are preparing to launch our new online violence prevention course, “THE PARENTAL SAFEGUARD PLAN…To Achieving Peace of Mind!, I asked one of our SAFE International certified instructors to share her personal story in which she experienced and survived a violent, random attack.  

In this interview with Luc Sisombath, Chelsey Brooks Tidmarsh, a mother of two teens and a world-class elite athlete in Rugby and Canoeing, shares the details of her attack. Chelsey believes the most important aspect of self-defence is learning preventative measures before physically defending yourself. 

Warning: The video describes some graphic details.

This story illustrates how anyone of any size or strength can still be targeted for violence. As Chelsey states, people would commonly say to her, “OMG, I would hate to see you in a back lane!” When I was certifying Chelsey, I have to say she did appear and likely is much stronger than me, but I am quick to point out to many that over-confidence in one’s appearance can be risky. We are all potential targets, so the key is in understanding that and educating ourselves on how to minimize the chances of being chosen for victimization. 

Although victims of violence usually know their perpetrators, there are times when violence occurs without any rhyme or reason, as this story shows.

Sadly, many people ask what they might have done to bring the violence upon themselves when virtually nothing could be done to prevent it, particularly when an attack is random and swiftly brought upon you with no foreseen motive.  

Sometimes, one’s only chance to avoid violence is having a heightened sense of awareness. Not paranoia, but an ability to scan and understand the environment, and even then, as you will hear, there are times when one may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is why in this video, Chelsey shares her passion for teaching the preventative side of self-defence and violence prevention through her learning with SAFE International.

I would like to thank Chelsey for opening up and talking about a very personal experience.  And thanks to Luc Sisombath for this excellent interview. 

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Keep SAFE!

Chris Roberts, Managing Director SAFE International

In this self-defense video clip Richard Dimitri with the aid of Chris Roberts, founder of SAFE International discusses and demonstrates how to deal with being Pinned to the Ground.  Richard first points out the most vulnerable targets on the human body.  Self-defense targets that will debilitate an individual regardless of their size, strength, or if they are under the influence of any substances.  While there are no guarantees anything will be effective, striking the targets of the eyes and throat give you the highest chance of surviving.  Critical to mention that when one needs self-defense that their force must parallel the danger in the eyes of the law.  This video is for solely meant for educational and informational purposes..  One must educate themselves on the self-defense laws in their country.  

The Eyes – if a person can’t see, they are still dangerous, but will struggle to locate you if you are at a distance.  As Richard says, you may play Marco Polo with them, but not recommended lol!

The Throat – is a target one may target in a life and death scenario.  It is not a self-defense strike to use in a low level threat scenario.  The result of a throat strike could cause death.  Again, critical to understand the laws where you live.

Far too often, self-defense instructors teach to strike first, and ask questions later, but this is not an ethical, moral, or legal response to violence. High level self-defense strikes as stated in the video are for the worst-case scenarios. One should only utilize a high-level reaction like this if attempts to avoid, escape, or verbally defused have failed leaving only the option of self-defense.

Outside of the eyes and throat, the rest of the body contains secondary targets you may strike if you can’t reach the eyes or throat. In a worst-case scenario, you aim for those most vulnerable targets, but attacking the secondary targets may provide you the opportunity to access the primary targets. One may use ripping, tearing, clawing, biting, spitting, anything that either damages or creates distraction to get back to the primary targets.

Being pinned to the ground with both arms restrained is a common method adopted to control the victim. It is particularly common in a sexual assault scenario and applied to control and intimidate the victim. The attacker may seek for an opportunity to strike or remove clothing to continue their assault. While possible, the attacker may attempt a headbutt, but that is not likely their intention. To continue struggling against someone who is most likely bigger and stronger is futile and wastes a lot of valuable energy. And struggling may encourage the attacker to strike sooner, to stop you from struggling.

If the person removes their pin of an arm to strike, it is vital you strike back instantly and directly. If they release a hand to throw a punch, there may be a split-second when they pull back to strike you. This provides a small opportunity, but your reaction must be direct and without hesitation to put them on the defensive. Any pause in your defense will narrow your chances of survival.


Having education in grappling arts can help you in how to move on the ground, but understand the distinction between grappling and self-defense.  With little to no experience with violence, to think you can pull off armbars and other complicated grappling defenses is dangerous.  Many self-defense instructors teach all you need is leverage.  That advice is bullshit.  Leverage has its limits against someone who is bigger and stronger.  And remember, you are not defending against a “move”.  You are defending against the intention behind the attack. If their intention is rape, murder, jealousy, rage, etc that is much more difficult to defend against than any singular attack as you see on YouTube self-defense videos that show no realism in relation to violence.

Back to having your arms pinned.  The aggressor on top may say things that are disgusting and offensive.  They may lick or kiss the person with sexual assault, but while it may humiliate, it does not hurt.  Using conflict resolution skills here may be effective to lower the guard of the attacker.  Telling them what you can do for them as a strategy may cause them to relax their aggression or build a false sense of confidence dropping their guard.  Telling them what you can do for them is not compliance, but a strategy that may be used if you know they hope to rape you.  Psychology is often your best chance here.  If used, it may open up your defense. 

With being choked on the ground, while it is an a dangerous, frightening attack, both hands may be free in which case there is no time verbal talk.  you attack vulnerable targets as mentioned.


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Keep SAFE!

Chris Roberts

Founder, SAFE International