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Self-Defense Research

Articles and Books About the Potential Effectiveness of Women’s Self-Defense Programs

Hollander, J.A. (2014). “Does self-defense training prevent sexual violence against women?” Violence Against Women 20(3): 252-269.
Self-defense classes are offered across the nation as a strategy for reducing women’s vulnerability to sexual assault. Yet there has been little systematic research assessing the effectiveness of these classes. In this article, I use data from a mixed methods study of a 10-week, university-based, feminist self-defense class to examine the effectiveness of self-defense training over a 1-year follow-up period. My analyses indicate that women who participate in self-defense training are less likely to experience sexual assault and are more confident in their ability to effectively resist assault than similar women who have not taken such a class.

Orchowski, L. M., C. A. Gidycz, et al. (2008). “Evaluation of a sexual assault risk reduction and self-defense program: A prospective analysis of a revised protocol.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 32(2): 204-218.
The current study extends the development and evaluation of an existing and previously evaluated sexual assault risk reduction program with a self- defense component for college women ( N= 300). The program protocol was revised to address psychological barriers to responding assertively to risky dating situations, and a placebo-control group was utilized rather than a wait- list control group. Relative to the placebo-control group, the program was effective in increasing levels of self-protective behaviors, self-efficacy in resisting against potential attackers, and use of assertive sexual communication over a 4-month interim. Results also suggested reduction of incidence of rape among program participants over the 2-month follow-up. Implications for future development and evaluation of sexual assault risk reduction programming are presented.

Mickenberg, K. (2008). Broad Attack. Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers Inc. 41: 22-22.
An interview with Lana Stefanac, the four-time PanAm Gold Medalist in mixed martial arts, is presented. Asked whom she coaches, she answers that she has a human resource person, a nurse, a couple of doctors, a pornography star and a famous person’s daughter. She explains that the phrase “win by submission,” means when you got a person in a position where you could break his or her arm. She points out that she is not a violent person.

Livingston, J. A., M. Testa, et al. (2007). “The reciprocal relationship between sexual victimization and sexual assertiveness.” Violence Against Women 13(3): 298-313.
Low sexual assertiveness has been proposed as a possible mechanism through which sexual revictimization occurs, yet evidence for this has been mixed. In this study, prospective path analysis was used to examine the relationship between sexual refusal assertiveness and sexual victimization over time among a community sample of women. Results provide support for a reciprocal relationship, with historical victimization predicting low sexual assertiveness and low sexual assertiveness predicting subsequent victimization. The effect of recent sexual victimization on subsequent sexual assertiveness also was replicated prospectively. These findings suggest that strengthening sexual assertiveness may help reduce vulnerability to future victimization.

Fisher, B. S., L. E. Daigle, et al. (2007). “Assessing the efficacy of the protective action: Completion nexus for sexual victimizations.” Violence and Victims 22: 18-42.
Research has shown that protective actions are often used by rape victims, and some actions, namely, forceful physical resistance, are more effective in preventing a completed rape than other types of actions, such as nonforceful verbal resistance. The research is less clear, however, on the extent to which women who are victims of nonrape sexual victimization use protective measures and on the effectiveness of these actions. There is also uncertainty on the nature of the relationship between different types of protective actions, contextual characteristics, and the likelihood of completion of nonrape sexual victimization incidents. To investigate these issues, we used data from a national-level study of 4,446 female college students. Our results indicate that the use of protective action varied across type of sexual victimization and that the effectiveness of these actions on reducing the risk of a completed act is differentially related to type of sexual victimization. The findings suggest the need for sexual victimization prevention and education programs to include information regarding the efficacy of protective actions in both rape and nonrape incidents.

Downs, W. R., B. Rindels, et al. (2007). “Women’s use of physical and nonphysical self-defense strategies during incidents of partner violence.” Violence Against Women 13(1): 28-45.
Two incidents of partner violence are investigated using qualitative methodology to discover strategies women use to protect themselves and examine women’s use of violence. Data were collected from 447 women (age 18 or older) from 7 domestic violence programs and 5 substance use disorder treatment programs in a midwestern state. Women were found to have developed numerous self-protection strategies, some using nonphysical means only, others using physical means only, and others combining nonphysical and physical means. Women often used a variety of strategies in the same incident. Few women initiated violence against partners. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

Downs, W. R., B. Rindels, et al. (2007). “Women’s use of physical and nonphysical self-defense strategies during incidents of partner violence.” Violence Against Women 13(1): 28-45.
Two incidents of partner violence are investigated using qualitative methodology to discover strategies women use to protect themselves and examine women’s use of violence. Data were collected from 447 women (age 18 or older) from 7 domestic violence programs and 5 substance use disorder treatment programs in a midwestern state. Women were found to have developed numerous self-protection strategies, some using nonphysical means only, others using physical means only, and others combining nonphysical and physical means. Women often used a variety of strategies in the same incident. Few women initiated violence against partners. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

Gidycz, C. A., C. L. Rich, et al. (2006). “The evaluation of a sexual assault self- defense and risk-reduction program for college women: A prospective study.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 30: 173-186.
The present study evaluated the efficacy of a sexual assault risk-reduction program that included a physical self-defense component for college women (N = 500). Program group women significantly increased their protective behaviors over the 6-month follow-up period compared to the waiting-list control group. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups regarding rates of sexual victimization, assertive communication, or feelings of self-efficacy over the follow-up periods. Program group women who were victimized during the 3-month follow-up period evidenced less self- blame and greater offender blame for their assaults than control group women who were victimized following the program. Given that program women evidenced a greater awareness of sexual assault at the end of the study than control group women, the difficulty in addressing the impact of programming on rates of sexual victimization is discussed.

David, W. S., T. L. Simpson, et al. (2006). “A pilot curriculum of self-defense and personal safety training for female veterans with PTSD because of military sexual trauma.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21(4): 555-565.
The authors describe an overview of the pilot project Taking Charge, a 36- hour comprehensive behavioral intervention involving psychoeducation, personal safety, and self-defense training for 12 female veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from military sexual trauma. Self- defense training can incorporate the benefits of repeated exposure while teaching proactive cognitive and behavioral responses to the feared stimuli, and thus facilitate emotional and physical rescripting of and mastery over the trauma. Results up to 6 months follow-up indicate significant reductions in behavioral avoidance, PTSD hyperarousal, and depression, with significant increases in interpersonal, activity, and self-defense self-efficacy. The authors propose that this therapeutic self-defense curriculum provides an enhanced exposure therapy paradigm that may be a potent therapeutic tool in the treatment of PTSD.

Rheingold, A. A. and D. G. Kilpatrick (2005). “Self-defense training: A brief review.” Retrieved March 18, 2005, from
Morrison, K. (2005). “Motivating women and men to take protective action against rape: Examining direct and indirect persuasive fear appeals.” Health Communication 18(3): 237-256.
This article examines the effectiveness of persuasive fear appeals in motivating women to enroll in self-defense classes to take protective action against rape. Witte’s extended parallel process model is used as a framework to examine the relations between perceived invulnerability, perceived fear, and fear control processes. Because women may perceive invulnerability to rape, persuasive fear appeals targeted toward them may be ineffective in achieving attitude, intention, and behavioral change toward protecting themselves. One possible solution is to persuade men to talk with women about whom they care. Results indicated that women did not perceive invulnerability to rape, and although there was no differential impact between high- and low-threat messages, women did report positive intention and behaviors in response to direct fear appeals. Moreover, men reported positive intention and behaviors in response to indirect fear appeals.

Hollander, J. A. (2005). “Challenging despair: Teaching about womenʼs resistance to violence.” Violence Against Women 11(6): 776-791.
In this article, the author describes an approach to teaching about violence against women that balances discussion of violence with information about womenʼs individual and collective resistance. This strategy addresses two concerns about traditional approaches to this topic: that focusing only on victimization disempowers students and that it provides only a partial view of the reality of violence in womenʼs lives. To address these problems, the author integrates discussion of resistance into the classʼs working definition of violence, assigned readings, guest speakers, and course assignments. The author concludes with a discussion of the positive effects of this approach.

Brecklin, L. R. and S. E. Ullman (2005). “Self-defense or assertiveness training and women’s responses to sexual attacks.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 20(6): 738-762.
Self-defense classes aim to prevent violence against women by strengthening women’s capacity to defend themselves; however, little research has examined the effects of self-defense training on women’s attempts to fight back during actual attacks. This study investigated the relationship of self- defense or assertiveness training and women’s physical and psychological responses to subsequent rape attacks (N = 1,623).Multivariate analyses showed that victims with preassault training were more likely to say that their resistance stopped the offender or made him less aggressive than victims without training. Women with training before their assaults were angrier and less scared during the incident than women without training, consistent with the teachings of self-defense training. Preassault training participants rated their degree of nonconsent or resistance as lower than did nonparticipants, perhaps because they held themselves to a higher standard. Suggestions for future research on women’s self-defense training and rape prevention are offered.

Nurius, P. S., J. Norris, et al. (2004). “Women’s situational coping with acquaintance sexual assault: Applying an appraisal-based model.” Violence Against Women 10 (5): 450-478.
Drawing on theories of appraisal-based coping, the present study applied structural modeling to examine relationships among personal goal orientations, primary and secondary appraisals of acquaintance sexual assault, and women’s emotional and behavioral responses to it. Based on 415 college women’s reports of a sexual assault experience, the model shows both direct and indirect effects. Assertive, diplomatic, and immobilized responding were each predicted by a unique profile of appraisals and orientations; personal goal orientations and primary appraisals were completely mediated by secondary appraisals. Ways that these findings can facilitate self-protective coping in an acquaintance sexual assault situation, leading to the development of effective, well-tailored self-defense and resistance programs, are discussed.

Hollander, J. A. (2004). “”I Can Take Care of Myself”: The impact of self-defense training on women’s lives.” Violence Against Women 10(3): 205-235.
Feminist self-defense classes teach skills for preventing and responding to violence. However, self-defense training has many other positive effects on women’s lives-effects that themselves may reduce women’s risk of assault. In this article the author offers evidence of these effects drawn from a longitudinal study of self-defense training. In addition to increased confidence in potentially dangerous situations, self-defense students reported more comfortable interactions with strangers, acquaintances, and intimates; more positive feelings about their bodies; increased self-confidence; and transformed beliefs about women, men, and gender. The author suggests that self-defense classes are life transforming because they address three issues central to women’s lives: fear of sexual assault, self, and gender.

David, W. S., A. J. Cotton, et al. (2004). “Making a case for personal safety: Perceptions of vulnerability and desire for self-defense training among female veterans.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19(9): 991-1001.
We assessed perceptions of vulnerability and the desire for personal safety/ selfdefense (PS/SD) training among 67 female veterans receiving outpatient mental health treatment, primarily for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from sexual and/or physical trauma. Consistent with the literature on the impact of such training on nonclinical populations and on individuals with visual impairments, the results of this study indicate that traumatized female veterans believe that PS/SD training would be an effective and powerful addition to more traditional treatments for PTSD. Study participants indicated they believe such training would positively affect their sense of personal safety; promote increased competence in thwarting future assaults; improve their self-esteem, confidence, and assertiveness; and reduce avoidant and agoraphobic behaviors. These pilot results support the development of an adjunct intervention to augment current PTSD treatments for women veterans with histories of sexual and physical trauma.

Cermele, J. A. (2004). “Teaching resistance to teach resistance: The use of self- defense in teaching undergraduates about gender violence.” Feminist Teacher 15 (1): 1-11.
Focuses on the importance of self-defense in preventing crime against college women. Risk of sexual assault for college women; Occurrence of gender violence in schools; Ineffectiveness of physical resistance strategies against acquaintances.

Brecklin, L. R. and S. E. Ullman (2004). “Correlates of postassault self-defense/ assertiveness training participation for sexual assault survivors.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 28: 147-158.
Past research has shown that self-defense/assertiveness training may have positive implications for sexual assault survivors. However, little is known about the correlates of self-defense/assertiveness training participation for sexually victimized women. In this study we examined the assault characteristics and experiences that relate to womenʼs enrollment in postassault training using data from 1,623 female college sexual assault survivors. It appears that more violent attacks may lead survivors to enroll in postassault training, especially when their resistance was less effective. Postassault training participants were marginally more likely to have told someone about their assault, experienced less supportive reactions from others, exhibited marginally less current anxiety, and reported more postassault suicidal ideation than nonparticipants. These survivors may enroll in training to exercise control over future assaults occurring and as a way of healing from sexual assault. Suggestions for future research and the development of self-defense training programs for sexual assault survivors are presented.

Brecklin, L. R. (2004). “Self-defense/assertiveness training, women’s victimization history, and psychological characteristics.” Violence Against Women 10(5): 479-497.
Little research has been conducted to determine which characteristics and experiences affect women’s choices to enroll in self-defense/assertiveness training. The present study examined the role of self-defense/assertiveness training in women’s lives using data from 3,187 female college students. Logistic regression analyses demonstrated that women with multiple forms of childhood victimization (e.g., both child sexual and physical abuse) were almost twice as likely to participate in self-defense/assertiveness training. Training participants also reported more positive instrumental traits (e.g., independence) and less sexual conservatism than nonparticipants. Implications for future research evaluating self-defense programs are discussed.

Hughes, P. P., D. Marshall, et al. (2003). “Multidimensional analysis of fear and confidence of university women relating to crimes and dangerous situations.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 18(1): 33-49.
Fear-of-crime research, although plentiful, has been plagued by criticism that it often focuses on generalized, global measures of fear instead of specific instances that elicit an emotional response of fear. Much of the criticism is justified. Little is known about women’s perceptions of confidence in managing dangerous situations or crimes, or if confidence is correlated strongly with fear. College women (n = 564) completed the Perceptions of Dangerous Situations Scale, a survey instrument validated for college women, consisting of 34 crimes and dangerous situations. Women rated each situation with regard to their fear of and their confidence to manage selected situations. Ratings were subjected to multidimensional scaling, producing two dimensions that were interpreted as Personal Threat and Intimacy. Cluster analysis produced eight interpretable clusters for fear and eight for confidence. Implications for self-defense curricula and rape prevention training are discussed.

De Welde, K. (2003). “Getting physical: Subverting gender through self-defense.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 32(3): 247-278.
This article presents ethnographic research on a women’s self-defense course and proposes that socially available gender narratives of white femininity are potentially disempowering and victimizing to women. Changes in self-narratives as a result of the course reflect a more powerful self that challenges dominant discourses. The process illustrated in this article consists of reframing victimization, liberating the self, and enabling the body in a transformation of gender and self-narratives that affirm “femininity” while subverting its defining ideologies. What results is a physical agency within which narratives about femininity are reinterpreted and reembodied as powerful instead of vulnerable.

Ullman, S. E. (2002). Rape avoidance: Self-protection strategies for women. Preventing Violence in Relationships: Interventions Across the Lifespan. P. A. Schewe. Washington, D.C., American Psychological Association: 137-161.

Nadeau, L. N. (2002). Advanced self-defense strategies for women. Poquoson, VA, Rape Aggression Defense Systems, Inc.

Clay-Warner, J. (2002). “Avoiding rape: The effect of protective actions and situational factors on rape outcome.” Violence and Victims 17(6): 691-705.
While protective actions are consistently found to be important in rape avoidance, research is less clear on what forms of protective action are most effective. There is also little research on whether the effectiveness of particular protective actions varies depending upon the context of the assault. This study employs multivariate logistic regression to examine the situational effectiveness of physical, forceful verbal, and non-forceful verbal protective strategies using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (subjects aged 12 yrs old and older). It is predicted that failure to use physical and forceful verbal strategies will result in increased risk of rape as situational danger increases, while non-forceful verbal resistance will become less effective in more dangerous situations. Contrary to predictions, results indicate that the effectiveness of protective actions does not vary across most situations. Instead, among women who perform self-protective actions physical resistance is generally predictive of rape avoidance, forceful verbal resistance is ineffective, and non-forceful verbal resistance is predictive of rape completion.

Weitlauf, J. C., D. Cervone, et al. (2001). “Assessing generalization in perceived self- efficacy: Multidomain and global assessments of the effects of self-defense training for women.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27(12): 1683-1691.
The authors assessed the impact of self-defense training for women on multifaceted aspects of perceived self-efficacy. As compared to a waiting list control condition, training increased self-efficacy perceptions not only for self- defense skills but also across a variety of domains, including self-defense abilities, sports competencies, and coping skills. Trained participants also experienced a significant increase in more global aspects of personality, including perceptions of physical self-efficacy and assertiveness. No changes were detected on a trait measure of global self-efficacy; however, there was a significant change on a composite score of a multidomain self-efficacy questionnaire and on several domain-specific subscales, indicating that trained participants experienced a boost in multiple domains of self-efficacy not directly tapped by the intervention. Implications for constructing more sensitive measures of coping skills generalization effects are discussed.

Trowbridge, B. C. (2001). “Self-defense as a mental defense.” American Journal of Forensic Psychology 19(4): 63-74.
Recent advances in self-defense law are causing the standard to evolve from, “What would a reasonable person have done in this situation?” to “What would a reasonable person with this defendant’s mental status and history have done in this situation?” Many self-defense cases seem to involve some psychological reason why the defendant acted more fearfully than otherwise would appear to have been “reasonable” under the circumstances. Information is presented as to when a mental health expert’s opinion about a defendant’s fear would be admissible in a criminal trial.

Weitlauf, J. C., R. E. Smith, et al. (2000). “Generalization effects of coping-skills training: Influence of self-defense training on women’s efficacy beliefs, assertiveness, and aggression.” Journal of Applied Psychology 85(4): 625-633.
Concern for personal safety is a pervasive stressor for many women. Developing competencies in physical self-defense may empower women to engage more freely in daily activities with less fear. This study assessed the effects of physical self-defense training on multiple aspects of women’s perceived self-efficacy and other self-reported personality characteristics. Training powerfully increased task-specific (self-defense) efficacy beliefs as well as physical and global efficacy beliefs. Training increased self-reported assertiveness, and posttraining decreases in hostility and aggression were found on several of the subscales of The Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992), indicating that training did not have an aggression- disinhibiting effect. In the experimental condition, most of the effects were maintained (and some delayed effects appeared at follow-up.

Nadeau, L. N. (2000). Basic physical defense for women. Poquoson, VA, Rape Aggression Defense Systems, Inc.
Fraser, K. L. and G. M. Russell (2000). “The role of the group in acquiring self- defense skills: Results of a qualitative study.” Small Group Research 31(4): 397-423.
Using an interpretive approach to qualitative data analysis, the authors examined the importance of the group in womenʼs acquisition of skills during a Model Mugging (MM) self-defense course. Data were gathered during semistructured interviews with 59 female MM graduates. Interviews were analyzed using a consensus coding technique. Results indicated that the group context was instrumental in helping women to acquire self-defense skills and develop feelings of empowerment. Aspects of the group experience that were critical to course effectiveness included cohesiveness, altruism, emotional containment, witnessing, modeling, exploration of boundaries, and new relationships with other women. By integrating participantsʼ observations with theoretical and empirical reports of small group dynamics, these findings enable group leaders to monitor the functioning of small groups more sensitively and accurately.

Barrymore, J., Ed. (2000). R.A.D. on domestic violence: Instructor manual and outlines. Poquoson, VA, Rape Aggression Defense Systems, Inc.
Thompson, M. P., T. R. Simon, et al. (1999). “Epidemiology of injuries among women after physical assaults: The role of self-protective behaviors.” American Journal of Epidemiology 150: 235-244.
Physical assaults against women result in more than 5,000 deaths and 1 million nonfatal injuries per year in the United States. Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, 1992-1995, were used to test the association between injury risk and self-protective behavior, while controlling for victim, offender, and crime-related characteristics. Unlike in prior studies, a self- protective behavior measure that accounted for the temporal sequencing of the occurrence of injuries and self-protective behaviors was used. The study also examined whether the effect of self-protective behaviors varied as a function of victim-offender relationship status. The sample included 3,206 incidents in which females were physically assaulted by a lone male offender within the previous 6 months. Multivariate results revealed that women who used self-protective measures were less likely to be injured than were women who did not use self-protective measures or who did so only after being injured. The effect of self-protective behaviors on risk of injury did not vary as a function of the victim-offender relationship. The inverse association found between self-protective behaviors and injury risk differs from those of previous studies. Owing to inconsistent finding across studies, caution should be used when making recommendations to women regarding whether or not they should use self-protective behaviors during a physical assault.

Moore, C. D. and C. K. Waterman (1999). “Predicting self-protection against sexual assault in dating relationships among heterosexual men and women, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.” Journal of College Student Development 40(2): 132-140.
The purpose of this study was threefold: (1) to develop a standardized scale that measures self-protective behavior on dates; (2) to document the incidence of sexual assault in dating relationships among heterosexual men and women and gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals; and (3) to investigate predictors of self-protective behavior in dating relationships. To measure self- protective behavior on dates, the Dating Self-Protection Against Rape Scale (DSPARS) was developed. The relationship among previous sexual victimization, self-perceived risk for sexual assault, rape awareness education, gender of dating partner, and DSPARS scores was assessed. Ss were 152 college students (42% male). 68% of the Ss self-identified as heterosexual, 10% as lesbian, 15% as gay, 5% as bisexual, and 2% did not indicate sexual orientation. Results suggest that the DSPARS has construct validity and satisfactory reliability. Data indicate that incidence of sexual assault victimization among heterosexual women was 16%, among gay men was 13%, among lesbians was 23%, and among bisexuals was 43%. Findings revealed that heterosexual women reported engaging in the most self-protective behavior on dates. A direct relationship was found between rape-awareness education and self-protective behavior on dates.

Hayden, S. M. and B. F. Anger (1999). “Fighting back works.” The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 70(5): 31.
Physical education and training teachers should impart to their students self- defense skills which they can use to combat rapists. Rape has severe physical and psychological consequences for the victim. Thus, sexual assault is a serious problem, especially for the youth, and forceful resistance can go a long way in preventing rape. Moreover, self-defense can improve a person’s psychological health.

Ullman, S. E. (1998). “Does offender violence escalate when rape victims fight back?” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 13(2): 179-192.
Examined 2 samples composed of single-offender completed rape (N = 1,530) and attempted rape (N = 671) incidents reported to the Chicago police to determine whether rapists escalate the level of violence in their attacks when victims fight back. Chi-square analyses revealed that the type of victim resistance matched assailant attack strategy. Additionally, forceful verbal resistance was found to be a more common response to verbal attacks, and physical resistance was more likely in attacks where offenders used initial physical force or threats with weapons. Forceful physical resistance by victims was found to be unrelated to the use of physical force by the offender during or after the rape. Offender use of physical force prior to rape was found to be significantly related to the existence of such force by the offender both during and after the rape. Evidence was mixed regarding whether the association of the offender’s initial attack (i.e., verbal or physical) with victim rape and physical injury varied according to victim resistance. However, resistance in response to verbal or physical attacks did not lead to increased offender violence after the rape.

Ullman, S. E. (1997). “Review and critique of empirical studies of rape avoidance.” Criminal Justice & Behavior 24(2): 177-204.
Reviewed published studies of rape avoidance to evaluate the scientific basis for rape avoidance advice. Results are evaluated in light of conceptual and methodological limitations of this literature, and specific recommendations for future research are provided. Consistent evidence suggests the effectiveness of forceful resistance strategies for avoiding rape; however, few studies have analyzed resistance within the social and situational contexts of rape to provide situation-specific information about rape avoidance. Larger, representative community studies are needed in which a broader range of situational factors, resistance strategies, and assault outcomes are assessed. Interactions of contextual factors such as pre-assault alcohol use and the victim-offender relationship with offense behaviors should be tested, and data on the sequential ordering of offender attack and victim resistance should be analyzed to enhance prediction of the probability of completed rape and physical injury to victims.

Nadeau, L. N. (1997). Self-defense education and community oriented policing: The R.A.D.ical combination. Law Enforcement Trainer. 12: 10-13.
Women and children are victims of countless acts of violence daily; one of every eight women has been the victim of forcible rape. Therefore, police agencies and public safety departments have an obligation to educate the community they serve about violence, how to reduce the risks of violence, and the many options for deterring violence. Self-defense includes an array of options, ranging from awareness and risk-reduction strategies to the self- preservation act of compliance in certain situations. Instructors should avoid giving rigid step-by-step guidelines. Instead, they should provide enough basic information and physical practice to enable people to make their own objective decisions about what is appropriate in a particular situation. Instructor certification is the single most important decision a police agency. R.A.D. Systems is well researched, structured, responsible, defensible, and dynamic. Founded in 1989, it has been endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. It has certified almost 2,000 instructors, who have taught the programs to more than 45,000 women and children nationwide. Instructors create drills and scenarios to enable participants to develop and refine critical strategies. It covers risk reduction, avoidance, confrontational dynamics, physical defense principles, personal weapons of the body, and selected target areas designed to stun an aggressor and allow the student to escape. The program uses a simulation training suit and creates the chaotic elements of real confrontation.

Easton, A. N., J. Summers, et al. (1997). “College women’s perceptions regarding resistance to sexual assault.” Journal of American College Health 46(3): 127-131.
Explored college women’s beliefs regarding resistance, what they thought they could do if attacked (efficacy expectations), their intention to resist, and their attitudes toward resistance if attacked by a stranger with or without a weapon. 21% of the 344 women surveyed stated that they had been sexually assaulted and the vast majority of participants had changed their lifestyles to prevent a sexual assault. Less than 1 woman in 5 of those surveyed had taken a self-defense class. Participants believed that resisting sexual assault by a stranger with a weapon was more likely than resisting an unarmed attacker to increase their chances of being physically harmed, raped, or murdered. 22% of the participants said they were very likely to resist sexual assault by a stranger with a weapon; 52% would resist a stranger without a weapon. Findings indicate the need for an increase in the number of women taking self-defense classes and a revision in women’s perceptions about resisting sexual assault.

Ross, E. N. (1996). Never be a victim: The practice of psychological self-defense. Point Roberts, WA, Hartley and Marks Publichers, Inc.
One chapter develops the concept of the mind/body connection as an important factor in effective self-defense. Topics discussed include how belief can cause physical change, how the mind/body imbalance affects achievement, and facing a life- threatening assault. Another chapter instructs readers in how to control the circumstance that lead to victimization by learning to alter possible risk-producing behavior and by understanding how becoming a victim of crime may not always be just a matter of bad luck or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A chapter on reducing victimization risk focuses on threats both while inside and outside the home. Three chapters focus on issues pertinent to self-defense under the threat of rape, including gang rape and date/acquaintance rape. Other chapters address the self-defense rewards of relaxation, the use of guided imagery in preparing for self-defense under various threats, techniques for disabling an assailant, self-defense techniques appropriate for the disabled and the elderly, and survival techniques in specific threatening situations.

Lonsway, K. A. (1996). “Preventing acquaintance rape through education.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 20(2): 229-265.
Reports on the availability of education workshops in the United States aimed at preventing the occurrence of acquaintance rape. Evaluation of rape concept; Teaching of assertiveness and self-defense skills; Components of rape education programs.

Guthrie, S. R. (1995). “Liberating the Amazon: Feminism and the martial arts.” Women & Therapy 16(2-3): 107-119.
Challenges the Cartesian emphasis on mind that characterizes much of feminist theory and proposes instead a feminist “care of the self” ethics that revolutionizes both mind and body. Qualitative research was conducted that involved participant observation and 30 in-depth interviews with women who practice seido karate at a feminist martial arts dojo in Chicago. Women’s self-concept appeared to be profoundly altered when physically empowering activities such as the martial arts were practiced in gynocentric spaces infused with feminist spirit, ethics, and pedagogy. Healing from incest, rape, and other forms of violence is facilitated by martial arts/self-defense training in ways that are qualitatively different from traditional psychological therapy, suggesting that approaches that empower women physically, as well as mentally and spiritually, may be more effective in producing personal and social change than cognitive strategies alone.

Friedsam, D. (1994). “Rape resistance strategies and weapons used in assault.”
American Journal of Public Health 84(7): 1184-1185. Comments on J. M. Zoucha-Jensen and A. Coyne’s findings suggesting that women should employ forceful resistance strategies when faced with rape. Zoucha-Jensen and Coyne’s findings may be confounded by a variable that the study does not address: type of weapon involved in the assault.

Zoucha-Jensen, J. M. and A. Coyne (1993). “The effects of resistance strategies on rape.” American Journal of Public Health 83(11): 1633-1634.
Investigated which resistance strategies are associated with rape avoidance and the extent to which these strategies place the victim at risk for injury. Data were gathered from initial and supplemental police reports about 150 female sexual assault victims (aged 16+ yrs). Although the analysis could not determine causality, it did indicate that forceful verbal resistance, physical resistance, and fleeing were all associated with rape avoidance. Ss who used forceful resistance were no more likely to have been injured than were Ss who did not resist.

Ullman, S. E. and R. A. Knight (1993). “The efficacy of women’s resistance strategies in rape situations.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 17(1): 23.
Analyzes the effectiveness of women’s resistance strategies for reducing the severity of sexual abuse and physical injury during sexual assaults. Police reports and court testimonies of 274 women; Statistical analyses; Situational characteristics; Offender aggression; Injury measures.

Reekie, G. and P. Wilson (1993). “Rape, resistance and women’s rights of self- defence.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 26(2): 146-154.
Women are unlikely to be protected by the law, however, if their physical resistance to sexual assault results in death or injury. Because defense counsel can use the absence of serious injury to argue that the victim participated in consensual sexual intercourse, evidence of physical resistance in the form of documented injuries helps considerably in the successful prosecution and conviction of rapists. Recent rape reform laws have made significant progress in validating the range of distinctly female methods of resistance. Still, women are legally immobilized by contradictory expectations that they resist force but defend themselves without deadly force. Changes to self- defense laws are essential in the fight against male sexual violence. The authors contend that all manifestations of female resistance need to be seen as acceptable and lawful acts of self-defense in order to ensure that women subjected to sexual violence have full equality and justice under the law. Legal meanings of resistance are discussed, and research on ways women resist sexual assault is reviewed. The meaning of consent and self-defense strategies are examined.

Mauro-Cochrane, J. (1993). Self-respect and sexual assault. Blue Ridge Summit, PA, Tab Books.
Based on the premise that a woman’s best defense against sexual assault is to maintain her self-respect regardless of the outcome, the author advocates an ongoing process of emotional growth that begins before an attack and continues through the medical, legal, and recovery phases. Individual sections examine the problems women face before, during, and after sexual assault, especially their own fear, doubt, and shame, and examine socialization, myths about rape, and other factors that perpetuate the self- denigration of women. A variety of defense techniques are also presented, ranging from verbal assertiveness to physical and psychological strategies, together with descriptions of situations in which a woman may need to defend herself.

Fein, J. (1993). Exploding the myth of self-defense: A survival guide for every woman. Sebastopol, CA, Torrance Publishing Co.
The author emphasizes the need for women to overcome their fear of rape by addressing their fears of physical fighting and developing personal power. The manual outlines ways to avoid being a target of rape or other violence, how to recognize the signs of a potential attack, how to defuse potentially dangerous situations, and how to be assertive. It also focuses on lethal and nonlethal weapons, street harassment, carjacking, and related safety issues. Additional sections discuss myths many women have believed since childhood, the psychology of empowerment, ways to avoid specific types of violence, and sexual harassment and discrimination in the military and the workplace.

Ullman, S. E. and R. A. Knight (1992). “Fighting back: Women’s resistance to rape.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 7(1): 31-43.
Examined women’s resistance strategies (RSs) to rape, using police reports and court testimony of 274 women who were either raped or avoided rape. In response to physical attacks, the most effective RSs were forceful fighting and screaming for reducing the severity of sexual abuse without increasing the level of physical injury. In response to verbal attacks, screaming or fleeing/ pushing the offender away were more effective than was nonresistance for reducing the severity of sexual abuse. The offender’s physical aggression, rather than the woman’s fighting resistance, was responsible for physical injury. Thus, the often-stated positive correlation between a woman’s forceful physical attack by the offender and injury appears to be due to the initial physical attack of the offender, not to the woman’s physical resistance provoking further injury.

Cummings, N. (1992). “Self-defense training for college women.” Journal of American College Health 40(4): 183-188.
Advocates of self-defense training believe it will not only provide women with the physical survival techniques necessary to repel attacks effectively, but the training will also help them avoid threatening situations by increasing their confidence in themselves and their assertiveness. There is evidence that women who have these characteristics are less likely to be victimized. Opponents argue that self-defense training does not properly prepare women for an attack, does not adequately address acquaintance rape threats, and can provide a dangerous false sense of security. This article advises that self- defense training properly conducted can be an important element of a broader preventive approach that focuses also on decreasing potential assailants’ motivations for victimizing women.

Ullman, S. E. and R. A. Knight (1991). “A multivariate model for predicting rape and physical injury outcomes during sexual assaults.” Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology 59(5): 724-731.
The authors used police reports and court testimonies of 274 women, who either avoided rape or were raped, in order to study the relation between situational factors, offender aggression, victim resistance, and women’s sexual abuse and physical injury during sexual assaults. The use of hierarchical multiple regression showed that controlling for situational factors: (1) women’s screaming/yelling was related to less severe sexual abuse and (2) offender physical aggression was related to increased physical injury. An a priori model of the interrelations among offense components and injury outcomes was tested with path analysis. More forceful victim resistance was directly related to less severe sexual abuse even when controlling for level of situational danger and level of offender aggression. In contrast, more forceful victim resistance was not related to the level of physical injury when both the level of situational danger and the level of offender aggression in the assault were controlled.

Peri, C. (1991). Below the belt: Women in the martial arts. Newsletter of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federations: 6-14.
An evaluation of a model mugging course that found that 46 of 48 women assaulted after taking the course fought back sufficiently to avoid harm.

Pava, W. S., P. Bateman, et al. (1991). “Self-defense training for visually impared women.” Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness 85(10): 397-401.
Describes the development and testing of a rape-prevention and self-defense skills curriculum for visually impaired women. The curriculum is presented in 12 2-hr sessions and combines physical resistance techniques, safety precautions, and techniques for problem-focused vs. emotion-focused coping. The course was presented to 8 sighted and 11 visually impaired women (aged 28-46 yrs). After the course, Ss’ physical self-defense skills, confidence, and understanding of the ability to solve problems in hypothetically dangerous situations increased.

Mantese, G., V. Mantese, et al. (1991). “Medical and legal aspects of rape and resistance.” Journal of Legal Medicine 12(1): 59-84.
Proposes the enhancement of efforts to deal with rape and a greater sensitivity on the part of society to the problem of rape. Statistics are presented concerning the magnitude and impact of rape in the US, the psychological injury and medical risks that accompany rape are summarized, and the insensitivity of the criminal justice system toward rape victims is discussed. The focus is placed on possible societal and individual responses to rape including the need for behavior modification treatment of rapists and individual resistance to rape. The effectiveness and legality of deterrence devices and the use of defensive force by victims are also detailed.

Locke, D. R. and K. L. Maurer (1991). Defense strategy for women. Spring Arbor, MI, Saltbox Press.
The introductory chapter on crime prevention discusses preventive habits, privacy, and risk management which consists of an assessment of vulnerability, probability of crime, and criticality. The fear of crime is based on fear of the unknown, while an individual’s ability to perceive actual danger is founded upon self-awareness, environmental awareness, past experiences, observation abilities, frame of reference, and problem-solving abilities. The chapter on rape discusses how to conduct a personal risk analysis, alternative courses of action during a rape or attempted rape, and what steps to follow after a rape. Other chapters discuss in detail observation and awareness, preventive strategies, assertion, defensive tactics alternatives, and physical defense techniques. The two final chapters cover acquaintance assaults and defense strategies for senior citizens.

Finkel, N. J., K. H. Meister, et al. (1991). “Self-Defense Defense and Community Sentiment.” Law and Human Behavior 15(6): 585-602.
The research used three cases in which a woman killed a man and pleaded self-defense. One was a battered woman case, one involved a female defendant killing an alleged assailant on the subway, and one involved an alleged rape victim who kills one of her alleged rapists. The cases all involved shootings and charges of first-degree murder. The cases varied with respect to the seriousness of the harm, equal or unequal force, the possibility of retreat or escape, imminence, and the presence and type of expert testimony. Two-hundred sixty-nine student and adult mock jurors rendered verdicts and ratings in the cases. Results indicated broad but variable support for the NCRSD: 63 percent for the battered woman case, 27 percent for the subway case, and 23 percent for the rape case. Results also indicated that the mock jurors use a wider context and, at times, a subjective perspective to decide guilt. Findings suggested advocates of the self-defense defense should focus less on having expert diagnostic testimony admitted and more on having context evidence admitted and more options for verdicts included.

Finkel, N. J., K. H. Meister, et al. (1991). “The self-defense defense and community sentiment.” Law and Human Behavior 15(6): 585-602.
Studied the willingness of jurors to accept a not guilty by reason of self- defense (NGRSD) defense in cases in which a woman kills a man. Using 3 such cases (a battered woman case, a Goetz-like subway case, and an alleged rape case), where seriousness of the harm, equal or unequal force, retreat/escape possibility, imminence, and the presence and type of expert testimony were varied, 269 Ss aged 18-75 yrs (107 college students and 169 adults) rendered verdicts and ratings. Broad variable support for the NGRSD was found (e.g., 63%, 27%, and 23% NGRSD verdicts in the battered woman, subway, and rape cases, respectively), along with evidence that Ss used a wider context and, at times, a subjective perspective to decide culpability.

Essique, C. R. (1991). “Use of deadly force by women against rape in Michigan: Justifiable homicide?” Wayne Law Review 37(4): 1969-1987.
Following an overview of the law of self-defense involving deadly force, consideration is given to why the traditional rules of self-defense and the use of standard jury instructions might result in prejudicial treatment of female defendants. The magnitude of rape and subsequent trauma suffered by rape victims are assessed, particularly applicable Michigan law and relevant law of other jurisdictions. Problems inherent in the use of force by women in self- defense situations are examined. Because rape is viewed as a unique crime in that victimization does not stop with the termination of the act, the author contends that women should be justified in using deadly force to resist rapists. Since the traumatic psychological effects and attendant physical repercussions endure long after the completion of the act, rape is equal in magnitude to grievous bodily injury. Michigan should recognize the right to use deadly force to repel sexual assault because the physical integrity, emotional health, and psychological well-being of innocent victims should be protected, even at the expense of the life of the unlawful aggressor who threatens rape.

Kleck, G. and S. Sayles (1990). “Rape and resistance.” Social Problems 37(2): 149-162.
Analyzed 378 rape incidents occurring in the US from 1979 to 1985 involving a victim aged 12 yrs or over and an offender who was a stranger to the victim. Rapes of victims who resisted were much less likely to have been completed than rapes of non-resisting victims. Resistance with a weapon appeared most effective in preventing rape completion. Most forms of resistance were not significantly associated with higher rates of victim injury, except unarmed forceful resistance and threatening or arguing with the rapist. However, ancillary evidence on assaults and robberies shows that resistance rarely preceded injury. Only about 3% of rape incidents involved serious additional injury. Results suggest that refraining from resistance to avoid injury in addition to rape is a questionable tradeoff.

Furby, L., B. Fischhoff, et al. (1989). “Judged effectiveness of common rape prevention and self-defense strategies.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 4(1): 44-64.
All women face the threat of rape, forcing them to decide what to do to reduce their chances of being assaulted and how to defend themselves. A principal basis for such decisions should be women’s estimates of the effectiveness of possible rape prevention and self-defense strategies. A questionnaire was administered to five groups of volunteer respondents: 41 women recruited through a university newspaper advertisement; 42 men recruited through the same advertisement; 40 women in support groups for parents of young children; 40 middle-aged university alumnae; and 47 sexual assault experts (38 females and 9 males) working primarily in criminal justice, victim assistance, or private consulting. Respondents were asked about the effectiveness of both rape prevention and self-defense strategies. All five groups judged prevention strategies to be highly effective, women more so than men and sexual assault experts. There was much greater variability in judgments for self-defense strategies, but respondent groups generally agreed with each other and with available statistical estimates of effectiveness.

Atkeson, B. M., K. S. Calhoun, et al. (1989). “Victim resistance to rape: The relationship of previous victimization, demographics, and situational factors.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 18(6): 497-507.
Investigated the relationship between degree of resistance to sexual assault and (1) a victim’s demographic characteristics, (2) a victim’s previous experience with violence, and (3) situational characteristics of the assault. The responses of 116 15-71 yr old female rape victims during their assaults were characterized as no resistance, verbal resistance, or physical resistance. Demographic characteristics and prior experience with violence did not discriminate degree of resistance. However, victim resistance was significantly predicted by 6 of the assault characteristics. Victims showed greater resistance if the assailant was a friend or relative, if the assailant made verbal threats, and if he physically restrained or injured her. Greater resistance was also associated with less sexual abuse.

Ruback, R. B. and D. L. Ivie (1988). “Prior relationship, resistance, and injury in rapes: An analysis of crisis center records.” Violence and Victims 3(2): 99-111.
Information about the rapes of 2,526 females (aged 14-98 yrs) was coded from the records of a rape crisis center to test the hypothesis that physically resisting a stranger would be more strongly related to injury than would physically resisting someone known to the victim. Among other differences, attacks by strangers were more likely to involve a weapon and to occur outdoors than were attacks by nonstrangers, and victims were less likely to physically resist strangers than nonstrangers. Physical resistance to injury was more strongly related to injury when the rapist was a stranger than when the rapist was known to the victim.

Levine-MacCombie, J. and M. P. Koss (1986). “Acquaintance rape: Effective avoidance strategies.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 10(4): 311-319.
Studied differences in rape avoidance techniques and other situational variables among 35 avoiders, 26 acknowledged victims, and 21 unacknowledged victims of acquaintance rape identified in a survey and by interviews of 231 female university students (aged 18-25 yrs). Ss’ responses to the Sexual Experiences Interview, which included 39 questions exploring characteristics of victimization that the Ss had suffered, revealed significant differences between rape victims and rape avoiders. Compared to rape victims, avoiders: (1) were less likely to have experienced passive or internalizing emotions at the time of the assault, (2) perceived the assault as less violent, and (3) were more likely to have used active response strategies. Results suggest that the major findings of existing research on stranger rape avoidance are generalizable to acquaintance rape.

Block, R. and W. G. Skogan (1986). “Resistance and non-fatal outcomes in stranger- to-stranger predatory crime.” Violence and Victims 1(4): 241-253.
Examined encounters between strangers that might have resulted in robbery or rape, based on data from the National Crime Survey. Results show that forceful resistance was related to less frequent success by robbers, but victims resisting forcefully had a greater risk of being physically attacked. Forceful resistance in potential rape incidents was related to higher risk of attack and bodily injury with no apparent reduction in risk of rape. Victims who were able to offer nonforceful resistance reported a reduced risk of being robbed and suffered less frequent attack and injury. Nonforceful resistance was linked to lower risk of actual rape but was unrelated to risk of attack.

Quinsey, V. L. and D. Upfold (1985). “Rape completion and victim injury as a function of female resistance strategy.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 17(1): 40-50.
Examined the effectiveness of various victim resistance strategies in avoiding rape and/or physical injury in a sample of rape attacks from which chance interruptions had been removed and the temporal sequence of victim and rapists’ behaviors was clear. Victim responses were compared in completed and unsuccessful rape attempts that were made by the same rapist using similar methods. Descriptions of 95 completed rapes and 41 attempted rapes that were committed by 72 men (average age at the time of 1st offense 24.08 yrs) referred to a maximum security psychiatric institution were obtained from victim and police reports. 50 of the victims received slight injury, 15 were more seriously injured, and 2 were murdered. Rapists were more likely to complete the rape when the attack was conducted in an inside location, with a weapon, and not against a stranger. Victims were more likely to avoid being raped when they resisted, particularly when they screamed or yelled for help. There was no positive association between victim resistance and the probability of subsequent injury. Previous reports of resistance being related to victim injury may be because victims resist more strongly when they are being injured.

Burnett, R. C., D. I. Templer, et al. (1985). “Personality variables and circumstances of sexual assault predictive of a woman’s resistance.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 14(2): 183-188.
Investigated the degree of resistance to sexual assault as a function of personality variables and circumstances of assault with 64 19-72 yr old women. Degree of resistance was evaluated with measures that included the Dominance scale of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, the Death Anxiety Scale, and a revised locus of control scale developed by R. Brown. Death anxiety was the personality variable most predictive of high resistance. The profile of the high-resistant women showed that the absence of a weapon, lower death anxiety, and acquaintance with the assailant accounted for 66% of the variance. It was inferred that the life-threatening aspects of the rape situation are of great importance in determining a potential victim’s reaction.

Cohen, P. B. (1984). “Resistance during sexual assaults – avoiding rape and injury.” Victimology 9(1): 120-129.
Completed rapes tended to have been avoided if the victim both called for help and talked to the assailant while victims generally maintained their physical resistance had proven provocative. Past findings relative to the effectiveness and consequence of utilizing different methods of defense are discussed, and suggestions for future research are provided.

Kates, D. B. and N. J. Engberg (1982). “Deadly force self-defense against rape.” University of California Davis Law Review 15: 873-906.
To be legally justified in killing an attacker, a rape victim must reasonably believe that the rapist intends to kill or grievously injure her. In many rape situations, the threat of severe physical harm is clear; the rapist is armed or threatens death or grievous injury. Situations where a rapist does not explicitly or implicitly threaten physical harm beyond forcible intercourse are less clear regarding the victim’s right to use deadly force against the rapist. Current law does not clearly articulate a basis for the right to use deadly self-defense when a person reasonably believes that harm will be limited to forcible intercourse. One factor which can justify the use of deadly force against a rapist who does not threaten the victim with death or grievous physical harm is the high frequency of murder and serious injury incident to rape. This could properly lead any rape victim to assume that her life and health are in serious danger. A second factor that could justify the use of deadly force is the high rate of physical injury and psychological trauma attending rape. The threat of venereal disease, an unwanted pregnancy, and psychological debilitation can be taken together as a threat of serious harm. Overall, rape can be viewed as a grievous physical and psychological attack that may be resisted by any and all means.

Krulewitz, J. E. and J. E. Nash (1979). “Effects of rape victim resistance, assault outcome, and sex of observer on attributions about rape.” Journal of Personality 47 (4): 557-574.
Perceptions of sexual assault were investigated as a function of sex of observer, nature of victim resistance, and assault outcome. Two hundred twenty-nine subjects were randomly assigned by sex to six resistance x outcome conditions. Hypotheses that women and men apply sex-role stereotypes in evaluating the rape situation were supported: (a) subjects were more certain that rape had occurred as the victim resisted more; (b) subjects attributed greater responsibility to the victim for completed than for attempted rape, while the reverse pattern was found for the assailant; (c) women attributed more responsibility to the assailant than did men; and (d) men attributed less fault and more intelligence, and women attributed more fault and less intelligence to the rape victim as she resisted more forcefully. Attributional terms; fault, blame, and responsibility were found not to be interchangeable. Rape attributions are discussed within the contexts of identification with victim’s situation and perceptions of victim’s control. Implications for choice of self-defense strategy and treatment of rape victims are also considered.