35. Violence is as violence will.

Here is a series of questions by Isabelle Aubert of the UCSD dojo:

“I’m assisting Sue Merritt in the self-defense class for women (same class that Barbara was teaching at UCSD). Yesterday, one of the women asked us a very good question. She wanted to know which of the strikes that we have taught them could be powerful enough to kill someone. She says that she could not kill another human being and she wants to know what are her options to defend herself but yet not kill anybody. As martial artists, I think we should all give some thoughts to that! Are we ready to use killing forces against an opponent. Social and Cultural backgrounds are different for everybody and some have no problems with defending themselves knowing that they could kill. For other, it is different. Personally, I admit that if I was attacked, I am ready to use whatever I can to survive. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. I think that we have to respect people choices on that matter. Until about 15 years ago (yeaks, 15 years already!!) I did not know what I would have done if attacked but once, a man (a complete stranger coming out of the bushes, at 7 p.m. on a quiet Sunday night in the small town where I grew up, and I was not alone, I was taking a walk with my cousin…the situation is not typical, statistically speaking) tried to use force to rape me. Fortunately he did not get very far. My cousin and I had just taken a self-defense class for women the week-end before! Poor man, not his luck! He tried to grab me saying that he will not hurt me, he is not dangerous, etc. Yeah, right! I first tried to talk to him (but I think I quickly switch to yelling and swearing at him…he truly disgusted me!). He tried to grab me again. I saw my cousin getting behind him and she did a double bottom fist to the collar bones. He seemed slightly startled. When I saw that, I thought time to attack. I placed my hand in to a tight bear claw and keeping it flat, align with my wrist/arm (we don’t use this technique in class or at Aoinagi…or at least I never saw it) I went through is throat (I can still feel this, his warm throat skin wrapping around my hand…I really found it gross!) with a loud kiai. He bent over, covering his throat and we ran. From far, we saw him got up and we thought that he would be O.K. and so we would be. However, I was taught in my self-defense class that this technique could kill. Easily. At that point, it was clear in my mind that I could kill him and I did not care.”

Who wants to kill another human being? Not me. I have seen people die from disease, gunshot wounds to the chest or head, knife wounds, poisoning. I don’t want to see people die, and I surely don’t want to kill anyone. I have never been so mad as to try to kill anyone either. Actually, I went to medical school mostly to avoid having to kill Vietnamese. I certainly understand that most people don’t want to kill.

The Fifth Commandment of the Old Testament of the Bible states “Thou Shall not Kill.” It is rather straightforward. We are not supposed to kill humans.

Then we look around for a short glimpse of how society condones or seeks killing. Hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs, fission bombs, conventional bombs are potential indiscriminant killers. Grenades, mortar shells, machine guns are group killers. Rifles and pistols are specific target killers. We have many ways to kill as a society. And we allow it. We pay for it by our taxes. Who are we kidding that we don’t want to kill?

What your companion was saying is more that she feels sick at the thought of killing another human being. I’ll bet she pays taxes and never gives a thought that a large portion of her mandatory-donation goes to weapons of destruction of human life. Somehow she OK about that. And yet when it comes down to killing a rapist with bare hands this somehow worse than paying for a part of an atomic bomb. We are not rational; we are emotional. Your companion doesn’t want to feel responsible for another person’s death. This I admire but only with some reservation.

According to the FBI somewhere around 100,000 rapes will occur in the United States in the next year. According to several feminist groups more than 500,000 rapes will occur in the United States in the next year. That is about one rape every minute.

According to the FBI somewhere around 45,000 murders will occur in the United States in the next year. That is about one murder every two minutes.

According to the FBI somewhere around 1,000,000 assaults and batteries will occur in the United States in the next year. That is about one assault every 30 seconds.

In some of these assaults, as I have seen in emergency rooms, there will be eyes lost, major facial disfigurement, permanent coma caused, paraplegia and quadraplegia caused.

And when it comes to rape, I have seen the results in the emergency room and in the psychiatric wards of my residency. To see a woman bent over, crying, afraid, demeaned holding her belly, hidding on the floor in the corner refusing to get up, screaming as the doctor approaches her is an experience I never want to have again. To watch how long they suffer reinforces that I never want it to happen to another woman again.

Some of them literally shake just to meet a man in a perfectly controlled hospital ward or at business. Some of them over-generalize the sexual assault onto every man they see, fire in their eyes, or cowaring away. MEN become the target of their hatred; and the rapist goes away to rape again, and again, and again.

Rape is not an individual problem. Rape is a societal problem. It must be stopped.

I know your companion does not want to have anyone raped. But the use of force is often necessary to escape rape. So, how much force? Sufficient force!

It is a good idea to say, as a place to begin.

Some women I know (and I respect their decision and I respect them as people) say they would submit completely in hopes that they could survive the incident. They say “I’ll let the bastard have what he wants if he lets me live.” Well, he may let her live; or he may try to kill her. Her submission is a tactic to survive and may work for her. I hope that no person would criticise this woman for her decision. It is not necessary for the woman to fight. The criminal is the man, not the woman. She does not have to fight. If she submits she is not illegal or immoral or weak or anything other than a victim of savagery.

I once worked with a prostitute (as a matter of legal sentence to seek psychiatric help). She had been raped several times. She didn’t think it was “any big deal.” If a man on the street attacked her, she was willing to submit (without pay) for the chance to survive. The sex act had lost meaning to her. Intimate sex, sex-for-pay, rape; she could withstand any of them. She was the one who first told me, “No man has a penis so long that he can touch my soul.” For this woman, who I must admit I still respect, the correct decision was submission. She is still alive and the fact that she has been raped just doesn’t seem to bother her. (Incidentally, she is now a registered nurse who got her education after retiring from prostitution. I have worked with her as a physician now at a local hospital and prefer dealing with her in her new profession, which she does very well.)

For others submission is not a good choice. One third-degree black belt I had years ago stated, “I will die first. No man can take me without killing me first.” I believed her then. I believe her now. No one will take her against her will. She would jump out of a 20 story building committing suicide, or slash her belly so he couldn’t find the right place before he could take her. And, she would annhilate him in an instant if she could. I respect her decision, too, although it is quite different from the prostitute’s decision.

If your companion can say, “STOP IT! LEAVE ME ALONE!!” and it works, well that is fine. If your companion can justify submission because the actual sexual/psychological damage to her is insignificant, well that is fine, too (it actually makes her impenetrable). If your companion would rather die than submit, well that is fine too. It is the grey zone that is the real danger.

If a woman begins, “STOP IT! LEAVE ME ALONE!!,” and he continues, hurling some imprecations and wiggling isn’t going to do much except get her bound down by her assailant. The grey zone here is indecision and it gives all the advantage to the assailant. This struggling woman who doesn’t want to kill the man and so just gradually builds her resistance to him is a goner. She will be raped. She may well be battered or murdered, too.

The woman’s best chance is all out WAR as soon as the assault begins. Words work when words work. But when violence begins, words and wiggling don’t usually do much. When the violence begins (or just at the golden instant before the violence begins—known as preventive necessity) is the time for all out violence. USE IT OR LOSE IT. Blast the bastard off of the Earth with every thing you have…for you only have one chance…NOW.

So, is the woman going to kill the man. Unlikely! It is not because she is woman, it is because the human body is much more resilient than most think. A strike to the throat could kill a person, but it won’t most of the time. A strike to the temple could kill a person, bit it won’t most of the time. A strike to the eyes could blind a person, but it won’t most of the time. In Minneapolis a few years ago a boy was sparring with another when he was struck in the chest by an average medium contact strike; he died. Most medium contact schools have a hundred similar strikes per night training and no one dies.
It is possible that any strike could kill an individual, but most of the time it won’t.

A woman weighing 120 pounds must generate a considerable force from her body to stop a 200 pound assailant. She shouldn’t be concerned about killing this guy, she should be concerned about hitting powerfully enough so that he doesn’t just absorb the strike and continue the assault. My advice is simple; give him everything you’ve got and just a bit more, and do it from a complete stop, no wiggle, no pounding on his chest in anger. When he knows you are wiggling he stops the wiggling. When he feels the pounding on the chest, he stops the pounding on his chest. If she is playing tag with his testicles he says, “she is hitting me near there, I’d better stop her.” Then she gets a major softening blow. Her chances of escape have now gone down.

Give this assailant everything you’ve got…to his vital targets…eyes, throat, groin…and get away…don’t look back…GO NOW!!!

You are not going to kill anyone…
You are not going to kill anyone…

And, being really honest with you, if you managed to kill him in the act of assaulting you and attempting to rape you, you prevented some other woman in a month getting stuck, and then another woman in another month getting stuck, and another, and another, and another until he killed, and perhaps killed again and again.

You should get a Medal of Honor for serving your country in war.

This email started a discussion on rape, see [link]