Girls Fight Back to Get Away!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
28 Dec 2009


A major recurring theme of this website is reviewing some real life actions that have helped some people escape the worst of an attack! In this post I will look at attacks from December 2009, in the US, Canada and Uganda to demonstrate what is possible.


These three attacks while very different, have one common thread – The women or girls fought back! The main question running through most women’s minds in an attack is probably how do I get out of this alive?


By the time an attack happens, a woman has exhausted everything she has been taught about how to avoid or get away from an attack and is left with the fact that it is really happening. Let me just say before launching into my review, that the decision to act or not act is a personal decision. You (the victim) will have to live with your decision (assuming you survive) so please consider the possibility that fighting back in some form can work and make an educated decision to SAVE YOUR LIFE!


Here is a related video to set the stage from Erin Weed (Girls Fight Back).



In the first attack here, a girl was being molested by a group of about eight guys. The girl broke free and ran down to the subway but was caught and dragged out of the train by the guys. She ended up stabbing one of the guys and broke free again and caught the train for her get away!

This case happened in Queens, NY and is in flux. The girl is being sought for questioning in this case. How scary was it for the girl that eight guys attacked her and no one came to her aid? That is crazy but in similar cases, the transit employees have established all they do in many cases is call the police.

The girl in this case as far as I can tell did everything right. She was outnumbered by the guys and initially just tried to get away. After they caught her she found/had a knife and used it on them! She then made her escape! This girl is not a vigilante but a woman trying to defend herself!

In this next attack out of Canada, a 12 year old girl was approached by a man asking for directions to a liquor store here.  At that point the man grabbed the girl and started pulling her to his car.

This girl yelled, screamed, punched and kicked at the man so a bunch of neighbors were alerted and started to come to her rescue! The guys detained this animal for police!

This girl did everything right and even though her strikes were apparently ineffective (she was not able to get free) – she alerted others that she was being attacked! This is key because bystanders generally do not know if a father is retrieving a mis-behaving daughter or not. If a girl makes a ruckus and fights back – it is clear to everyone that a pervert is attacking a girl! And people help out!

The last example of a successful self defense is from Uganda here. The girl was found alone outside by a herdsman who told her he wanted to have sex with her. The girl ran inside, was attacked and fought back, escaped out a window. The herdsman followed so the girl picked up a rock and struck the man.

Uganda is a land locked nation in central Africa, with Congo to the west, Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east and Rwanda and Tanzania to the south. After reviewing the wikipedia article I did not realize that this nation had such a recent war history. Apparently this is where Idi Amin seized power (I’ve not tracked world events much).

As far as I know there is no type of martial art that teaches fighting with stones but if you think about it, common items one can find laying around can be lethal self defense weapons.

This girl acted exactly right in trying to get away and then fighting back! I have no cultural awareness of why the girl was arrested (for obvious self-defense) in Uganda but hopefully this is just procedural and girl is freed soon.

So there you have it, three diverse examples of how girls fighting back have saved their lives. While one cannot say for sure if the girls had not fought back – what their fate would have been, one can say these girls are safe for having the courage to act in the face of powerful attackers (men) and fight back!

I hope these examples have inspired you to take some local self-defense courses as a minimum or a martial art (read any fighting method) for a better mastery of how you can defend yourself.

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9 Responses to “Girls Fight Back to Get Away!”

  1. mike ferruggia Says:

    Hey John,

    I just posted some observations on the recent attack on the Pope, and the reaction and technique of the bodyguard. I’m not a professional, and offered some ideas in my post related to tai chi and takedowns. If you have time, would you mind commenting on my post and offering your ideas for my readers on how you would have handled the situation. I assume there are tried and true bodyguard techniques that every bodyguard learns.

    Thanks in advance

    .-= mike ferruggia´s last blog ..Pope Attack: Bodyguard Techniques =-.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Mike!

    I found your post very interesting on this topic. I agree with your assessment. Thanks for pointing this out!

  3. Neal Martin Says:

    Fair play to that girl who escaped the attack from eight guys, that’s good going. You would have thought such a scenario inescapable for anyone. I guess if the survival instinct is strong enough, a person could survive anything. Good post.

  4. TheMartialArtsReporter Says:

    Hey John,
    Thanks for the great post and tribute to these women/girls who took decisive action.
    They used whatever was at their disposal and acted despite of fear.
    You gotta love it, man.
    And it is shocking/disappointing whatever you want to call it that nobody came to their help.
    Should teach us all, who are reading your blog, an incredibly valuable lesson.
    Happy New Year, John!

  5. Marc G. Says:

    Glad you posted this! Too many people don’t realize that, with self defense, it is your descision making process that will save your life more often than any perfect technique. Good situational awareness and avoidance is the best weapon. Second best (like you said) is making the descision to act and then acting with decisivness and committment. These 3 stories you related are not about martial artists…just survivors. But, I think that is what was/is that true heart of the arts…staying alive (not performance).
    .-= Marc G.´s last blog ..Fear the Blade! Defense Against Knife Attack =-.

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Neil,

    Good insight and yeah… one would not think someone could escape from getting attacked from eight guys (I have but I’m atypical).

    I was impressed as a child by videos of bobcats fighting other larger predators and coming away unscathed or wolverines fighting off bears. I see no reason that a person’s will to survive cannot kick in regardless of the odds of success (such as mine do). If you can figure out a way to teach this let me know (you will get rich!)!!
    Hey Tiger,

    I like you cannot fathom why men would not come to the aid of a damsel in so obvious distress?! Self-preservation should not be the governing force here but rather doing what is right. Hopefully more and more folk will take martial arts and learn that the bigger guys do not always win… and fighting for what is right is more important that getting a few bruises.
    Hi Marc!

    I guess the decision is the hard part for lots of people. I like reporting about survivors as anyone can apply self-defense techniques. Although I think people with more exposure to the fighting arts will stand a better chance, as the title of this blog says, I’m most interested in self-defense. As Neil pointed out too, there is a lot to be said for a person’s survival instinct.

    I agree with all of your points about situational awareness and avoidance.

    Thanks Neil, Tiger, and Marc for your insights and have a happy new year!

  7. Self Defense Knives Says:

    Im going to train my kids in stand up. get them to be efficient in boxing, trapping, knives, and kicking. Secondary would be MMA / Grappling. I think its one of those essential educations that will improve our society.
    .-= Self Defense Knives´s last blog ..Self Defense Knives =-.

  8. Michele Says:

    Hi John,

    Your blog is an excellent resource on self-defense. Thank you for the inspirational articles. Reading your blog inspires me to reach out to the community and offer additional self-defense classes at the dojo.

    Thanks again,
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..How Do You Hold Your Car Keys? =-.

  9. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Self Defense Knives,

    I’m not opposed to any weapon used for self-defense but here in California a knife would be a felony. The most you can use here is pepper spray or a stun guy unless you happened to find a weapon or have the kid’s baseball bat lying around. One cannot have most weapons legally in California. Thanks for the information as I am sure it will be useful in other locations.
    Hey Michele,

    Thank you. As I am trying to inspire it is good to see it is having that effect. I think any story that highlights how one can take control in a bad situation, it helpful too. There sure is a need for self defense training. Glad to hear you are involved. :)