In a world where crime and violence are prevalent, it is extremely important that those, who may be at a disadvantage for being attacked, be able to exercise some control by learning strategies for defending themselves. One of the best ways to prepare yourself to fight off an attacker is to take a self-defense class. However, there are other strategies that may work just as well, with the idea in mind of de-escalating, rather than taking a chance of making things worse. The art of self defense includes much more than martial arts.
Those who are threatened and fight back "in self-defense" may actually risk making a situation worse. The attacker, who is already edgy and pumped up on adrenaline, may become even more angry and violent.
Not everyone agrees on the best method of self defense; however, most would agree that a little bit of knowledge can definitely be a dangerous thing when it comes to defending oneself. One intelligent approach to thinking about self defense is to adopt the 5 Ds: Decide, Deter, Disrupt, Disengage, and Debrief, with Disengage being the most important component.
Deciding not to be a victim is the first step, along with planning and preparing for what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Deter is a preventative step. Don't foolishly put yourself in situations where an attacker can find you alone, with no one else around. Use your intuition. Be aware of your surroundings, and assertive in your body language and appearance. Disrupt your attacker. Shock or surprise him by fighting with everything you have. Kick him in the groin, gouge his eyes, use whatever weapons or sprays you might have, attack your attacker, with the sole purpose of getting away. Disengage by carrying out an exit strategy. Finally, Debrief by confronting and discussing the aggression. Promote emotional and physical healing, seek legal advice, support and assistance (information contributed by Erik Kondo at not-me.org).