Police urge, 'You're better off fighting': Research finds aggressive resistance disrupts attacker's plans
The attacker said he wouldn't kill her if she just quit resisting. The woman, a 23-year-old who had called for a cab from a Moorhead bar, didn't listen. Pinned to the ground under his body, she grabbed the knife he had put to her throat and pushe...
The attacker said he wouldn't kill her if she just quit resisting.
The woman, a 23-year-old who had called for a cab from a Moorhead bar, didn't listen. Pinned to the ground under his body, she grabbed the knife he had put to her throat and pushed it back.
"If you keep struggling, you're going to die," he told her.
The woman survived, though, and without being sexually assaulted. Fargo Police Sgt. Joel Vettel said that type of violent resistance is what he urges women to do in self-defense classes.
"All statistics show you're better off fighting," Vettel said. "All you're doing is giving yourself a chance, and that's all you're asking for."
In Fargo, the demand for self-defense clinics skyrocketed after University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin disappeared last November from a shopping mall parking lot in Grand Forks.
Vettel said he's given at least 40 lectures since then, compared with the five or so he gave the year before.
At his sessions, Vettel tells women to bite, eye-gouge, groin-kick or do whatever else they feel is necessary.
"They don't play by the rules, so you can't have rules, either," Vettel said.
Popular law enforcement opinion once instructed victims to submit, thinking that aggressive resistance would only infuriate an attacker, Vettel said.
But federal research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, aided in part by interviews with convicts, found that an all-out battle disrupts an attacker's plans and gives victims the best chance for survival.
The woman in Saturday's attack struggled so fiercely, even while the man tried to bind her wrists, that she broke the knife.
She also screamed as loud as she could and hit the taxi's horn to alert others.
A neighbor heard the commotion and called police.
Officers arrived within minutes and arrested the man.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538