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Protect Yourself: Prevent the 3 Phases of a Physical Attack

Protect Yourself: Prevent the 3 Phases of a Physical Attack

Kelly Rudolph | Excelle

February 18, 2009

When we see crime stories on the news or hear about a physical attack of someone we know, we usually just focus on one phase — the attack itself. There are, however, always three phases to each attack, whether the violation is verbal, mental, emotional or physical. It is important to know that the majority of attacks can be avoided or stopped during each phase.

Phase 1: Victim Selection

This is where someone who needs a power-fix (attacker mindset) is sizing people up to find the weakest, most easily controllable person.

Phase 2: Approach

In this phase, the attacker (whether verbal, mental, emotional or physical) gets close enough to attack; in essence, sets the stage for his or her plan to work.  

Phase 3: Physical Contact (or verbal, mental or emotional)

This is when the attack actually takes place — the part we focus on when we hear about it later.

  Important to note:

• There are always red flags prior to an attack but most of them go unnoticed.

• There are simple ways to avoid being attacked but most people are disinterested until directly impacted by an attack.

• There are two plans in every attack: the plan of attack and the plan of escape. If the victim has not considered escape previously, he or she has predetermined the choice to play into the attacker’s plan. The end of the attack marks the beginning of recovery for yet another survivor who didn’t think ahead.

  It is common to ignore that with which we are uncomfortable. It just might be that we focus only on the attack itself because to focus on the other phases would ultimately hand responsibility of our personal safety to us where it belongs…and that is most uncomfortable of all!

  Bonus Safety Tip: Attackers can be male or female of any age; from very young children to the elderly. Discounting someone based on age or gender puts you in danger. Trust your gut feelings instead; they will always lead you the right way. Check out The Seven Deadly Personal Safety Mistakes and a sample Safety Quick Tip at

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