• Amy Hervey

Target or Victim? There's a Big Difference

Although you may be the target of an attacker, a stalker, a mugger or a rapist, you do not have to be a victim! In many cases of self defense, those who escape a violent assault exhibit two traits: a) they are cautious and aware of their environment, and b) they are mentally and physically prepared to put up resistance.


What makes a potential target desirable for an attacker? Unless the attacker is a predator stalking a specific target, he (or she — although for the sake of convenience, I’ll use the male pronoun) likely will seek an opportunity with a high likelihood of success. He may be seeking a person who is unaware of his or her surroundings, seems meek, hesitant, lost, distracted, shy, impaired in some way, gullible or overly trusting. A person who acts or reacts predictably may also be a desirable target for an attacker.


Success, for an attacker, could be anything from intimidating you into giving up your purse or wallet to isolating you so he can beat, torture, rape or kill. While you may not know the type of level of threat you are facing, it is important that you realize the potential for your situation to escalate dramatically. Attacks and abductions happen in seconds, not minutes.


We are taught from a young age to be polite and courteous, and these are important social skills. However, these very habits can put you — women and children especially — in a compromised position if you aren’t vigilant. Fear of embarrassment, hesitating to draw attention to yourself or ask for help, and denial, thinking, “This isn’t happening to me,” can put you in a very dangerous situation.


Be aware, stay alert, listen to your intuition and act on it. If you find yourself the target of one or more potential assailants, act quickly! Use your wits, your voice, and then your physical skills.

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