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Self Defense/How effective would a group of girls (particularly those who aren't necessarily Wonderwoman) be at deterring a potential rapist or stopping a rapist during the process?


QUESTION: I am a bit paranoid because one of my little sisters love to hang out in areas known to have violence (such as the local arcades, that restaurant with a bar that serves rough and rowdy dudes, etc).

Now luckily she fits one of the criteria you mentioned in your website-she's always hanging around with a group of friends (often 3-6 people). However I'm still have doubts with letting her go around because all her friends are GIRLS. And we're talking about "nice preppy feminine girls" the types associated with cheerleaders or bookworms who wear glasses, you get the point.

Now part of what makes me worried is partially because of popular media. Whenever TV and movies always portray a rapist being stopped just right before a girl's panties are torn off and she's penetrated, its often a strong muscular Badass like yourself or (if they are frail weaklings who fit the stereotypical nerd appearance) a group of young guys. Even the news always report prevented rape incidents resulting because some college guys intervened and grab the rapist and pin him away or its a violence professional like a policeman or pro boxer who beat his ass down. Even than despite groups of young men or a single badass violence professional intervening, the incidents aren't clean and the heroic young college guys or policeman (or whatever other fighting professional) often are shown in recorded footage having to exert some tiring effort and its not uncommon for them to have bruises or wounds in the process.

So if multiple young men and even physically conditioned badasses who fight for a living and deal with rowdy scums daily are having problems, I am worried.

However this wouldn't be as big a problem I am anxious about in the past because I always assumed a large group of women as many as 4-10 would be able to cooperate together to stop a rowdy man.

Real life incidents shook my beliefs though and these examples are a bit lengthy so bear with me.

You are probably familiar with the Comfort Women system of imperial Japan so I will point out to some incidents specifically related to what I'm asking right away. Most eye witness testimonies selected during the trials against Tokyo and used by nations around the world who sufferred the Comfort Women always show to the general public of how overwhelmingly helpless the victims were; they were separated into individual rooms alone, they were teens with no real life experience (who never even know what semen was), sessions often involved multiple soldiers entering comfort girl's room and pinning her down to the floor and taking turns raping her while two or three soldiers hold her, threatening her at knife or gunpoint, the imperial Japanese soldiers were TOUGH as NUTS and so damn conditioned they literally could overpower an individual comfort woman, and you already can think of more examples than I could to show how helpless they were.

However to my shock I learned that not all comfort women were necessarily into completely helpless positions during the raping sessions. Because its so related to a whole load of other rape topics, I'll select one incident I learned.

A bunch of Chinese and Korean women were rounded up into one building. Because the army hadn't really organized in this specific town in China and because they had to improvise at the last minute, they chose a SHITTY two story building without specific rooms separated. While a good number of the victims were teenage Koreans, many of the Chinese women selected were older averaging around 18-20 range and even included some mid 20s women and girls approaching their 30s (or just slightly older). They were all huddled into the same room in the second floor (really the second floor was literally just one room) and it was so disorganized this point there was only three Japanese soldiers inside the building. One of them was too busy at the entrance awaiting orders from the main armor, the other one was also downstair doing paperwork.

It was ONLY a single soldier upstairs when the FIRST rape occurred. All three soldiers were so complacent they literally left their gun downstairs unloaded (actually I think one of them didn't even bring their gun into the building and left it at the barracks). All three thought it was a safe zone so not a single brought a bayonet or other melee weapon.  Only one of the soldier was a grunt, the two others were REMFs whose skills had probably detoriated at this point in the war (the eye witness account even describe the REMF as seemingly average, if not unfit in military standards; one was really frail and skinny looking like a guy who hadn't had sleep nor proper food for days and the other was so OVERWEIGHT he should NOT have been in the military).

So I was literally HORRIFIED when the one of them took the first virgin. Not because of the rape (don't get me wrong the rape is was a terrible thing but BEAR with me).... But because this specific incident was so DIFFERENT from the others that the comfort women victims were NOT COMPLETELY HELPLESS like in the classic testimony.

The soldier was SURROUNDED by so many women I think it was approaching 30 total. He did not have his rifle with him, not a single knife or other weapon. I already said these were all not teenage girls but some were older women. He even specifically chose a tough Korean girl to be the first virgin. As in this Korean girl was aggressive and not just trying to push the guy off but hitting him in the face.

He was so focused forcing himself into this Korean that the account I read implies he was having too much of a great time his eyes were closed the entire time and he was moaning and gasping hard for breath. Even if this guy was a muscular aggressive beast (and he was described as looking pretty toned in the thing I read), the fact so many of the comfort women outnumbered him significantly that if they just decided to swarm up on him, he could have been overwhelmed and pinned to the ground. Granted perhaps they were afraid of the two other guys, but if this Japanese soldier loud yelling did not bother the others, I think they probably would have been two complacent to care (now that I think of it I think I recall one of the soldiers below leaving he beholding to go to town and the other one was so asleep after the rapist upstairs  had come down to tell him it was his turn, I think the account said the other guy was so asleep he decided to go upstairs for a second round).

Of course this incident isn't exactly ideal for fighting back because of the type of people involved but the comfort women were NOT in the typical completely HELPLESS scenarios that you often hear at international courts and by surviving victims during protests and interviews with historians. None of that "separated into different rooms, pinned by 6 soldiers from arm to leg as the 7th raped the small girl, girls are all teenagers with no experience, etc" .

Even if they weren't fighters, this seemed like a good opportunity for some to escape while the rapist was so engulfed in his pleasure session and the other guys below are either asleep or left the building to go to town.

I was genuinely shocked but I still considered how different the circumstances were.

But I also read of GUESS WHAT- guys who fit the physically out of shape geek image literally succeeding in raping a girl despite being such physical wimps and her FRIENDS being around.

To state one incident at a college dorm one guy invited a trio. After locking the door, he started telling them to take their clothes off. They refused but he threatened to kill them all so they obeyed. As he was raping the one he found the most attractive, the other girls just SAT THERE CRYING and literally doing NOTHING!  One of they could of tried to attack the guy from behind or sneak away. Better yet since they all had cellphones, one of them could have secretly texted what was happening. For christ sake they were TWO girls so they should have enough power to push the guy off if they weren't willing to hit him or escape or use their phones.

The FUCKING WORST part was that the guy DID NOT have a weapon and was so fucking physically weak that even when I was fat I probably could have kicked his ass hard with my fist before I learned boxing lessons. Literally there is nothing scary about this guy and he was so unprepared, not even pulling out a knife or a gun or other lethal weapon when he first locked the door in his room and demanded they take of their clothes or else he would murder them. I mean even the girls thought going into his room would be no problem because the guy had a reputation of avoiding fights and being scared the moment you start crack your knuckles and pounding your fist against your other palm in front of him (even if you were just average looking in body proportion and weight).

I was so shocked because any guy my age-even one who was bounded to a wheel chair-would have scoffed and laughed at his empty threats and definitely would have fought back even if he was alone.

I read of another incident of a public rape this time in the hallway in another college. Although her friends were with her, that did not deter the rapist from picking his target. Now I don't find this situation as stupid because the other girls in her group ran away for help ASAP instead of standing there frozen in terror. But like the other story, this guy wasn't exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger in his physique so I am wondering why they had to get other guys to stop him. They were a group of like 6 women total so even if they were so damn out of shape, they could have grabbed the guy from behind and slam him on the ground or something like that. Even the male students who stopped were NOT the jocks but other guys who were of similar physical conditioning; actually the first guy who intervened was much shorter (5'1 I think) and quite  obese yet he pulled the guy away easily and was wrestling him when the other backup guys came and helped pin the rapist down.

So now I am quite worried as hell with my sister going around even if she had a large group of female companions with her wherever she goes. She DOES not want me to be with her when she's around her friends as she finds it embarrassing and sadly she doens't have a boyfriend or other close male relative so male bodyguards are out of the question. I tried to teach her boxing but she's refuses to pay attention to my lessons and she's too young to be holding a conceal weapons permit.  Giving her a knife is out of the question too because she's so extremely feminine. She hates sports so despite my efforts to get her into running so she can condition her to escape, she has not absorbed my track and field lessons and I am 100% confident now she doesn't run at least 1 mile for 2 or 3 days a week like I instructed her to do.

I initially thought being around a group of girl friends would be enough but my research makes me have a heart attack. Sadly here in democratic America its illegal to force your sibling to learn a life or death skill and even if I tried I doubt it would do anything.

Is just being with a group of girls be enough and I;m just acting paranoid?

I genuinely ask if the incidents I mentioned (particularly the comfort women) are just out of norm events? Because thats all I am staking on so far in keeping my sis safe from rape.

Also I am curious, how come despite the fact that many rape experts describe being in a group of girls should deter a rapist or at least they should be able to grab the rapist off with their numbers why in the incidents above they froze? I am still at a loss of words how the 29 comfort women could just stand there and do nothing. THe other incidents I mnetioned have far fewer girls in the group so I can understand why they'd fear for their life but 29 women SHOULDN'T have a problem pushing a man off.

I mean even groups of the weakest men are known to AID a buddy who is being assaulted in the moment no matter how untrained and out of shape said group is-especially if their attacked body is being RAPED In front of them!

ANSWER: The thrust of your question can be answered with something else I just wrote:

For the record, I'm not against bystander intervention.

What I am against is you not having your shit together enough to do whatever it takes, whatever the cost BEFORE you step in. If you don't, can't and aren't ready for the price, then the only thing physically intervening is going to do is create another victim... you.

Actively 'stepping in' requires a whole lot more than you in liver quivering self-righteousness, standing there saying, "Hey man! That's wrong!" and expecting that to make it all better.

On the other hand, calling the cops and filming isn't a bad idea ( remember to cloud it or e-mail the video to the cops, because the cops taking your phone with the evidence is real common). BTW, if you aren't willing to bust him on the back of the head, telling/threatening the dude you're filming ISN'T a good idea either.

One of the bigger problems that I have with the concept of bystander intervention is it's a reaction to a lie. A lie started by social scientists and the media pontificating on the murder of Kitty Genovese

Then saying "oh bad, bad, bad." People were told how horrible they were for not intervening. You should do something. Like ...oh say... walk into the lion's jaws.

Well guess what? Those people you're telling to intervene don't have what it takes to do much more than bleed. This ain't the kind of thing you self-certify yourself as "I'm ready to handle." It's something you have to have done a lot of work, have things already in place before you even consider stepping in.

Starting with the fact with knowing that there is not one 'pat' answer about what to do. Before you even THINK of intervening, know that there is a spectrum of violent circumstances. What works in one, fails in another. What is enough force for one situation is too little for some, too much for many others. You HAVE to look and assess the circumstances and level of danger BEFORE you step in. Otherwise you're going to find out the hard way that you valiantly stepped up and into a situation you should have shot the (first) bastard in the back of the head without warning.

I will also point to the BJJ instructor who got shot in the head when he tried to apply a rear naked choke against a robber. You don't use such a petty level of force when weapons are involved. Snap his neck as you're piledriving him into the ground, maybe. A "My dick is so big I leave drag marks" sports move? No.

The flip side of that same coin is that most situations will evaporate if you step up -- WITH awareness of the level, the willingness to do what it takes, and knowing full well the cost of it going sideways. A cheap local equivalent is often found with having some MA/MMA/boxing training. As it will buffalo most punks and assholes

That's why knowing HOW to assess the situation is important. If it's outside your paygrade, don't jump in. Otherwise...

See, it's a lot more complicated than just saying "Hey! I think you're wrong! Stop it."

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: OK now that you cleared up part of my question, I will ask more specifically related to the actual header.

In recent years experts and the news have been warning that if you have a sister or daughter, if you wish to prevent rape you should always have your sister or daughter or GF,etc go around with at least one person she trusts. Even if the other person is a small woman even weaker than she is and where they are going is to a dangerous area.

So quite recently the trend for many young girls is to go around with some close female friends because the message gotten from experts and such.

So many people ever since the late 2000s and 2010s have began to have more of a feeling of safe security that because their daughters and sisters and lovers are hanging in crowds of three or more women that rape should be deterred.

EXCEPT it statistics show it doesn't work that way. I can't speak for the entire United States, but I seen numbers from "traditionally dangerous areas" like New York where the numbers had not lowered; if anything in some of these places the numbers have risen a lot according to reports I read in Newspaper and stuff.

Thats wehre my fear comes in. My sister is so confident that her group of 5-7 friends would deter a potential rapist is such that she even disregards some information taht I told her that could save her ass that I learned from your site and some books you wrote that I started reading.

I'm actually already planning to start dragging her into our home gym and FORCE her to learn self defense and watch some DVDs you made once they come into mail (but I'm worried that I might go to "jail" for "kidnapping her" and "proselytizing my beliefs" on her).

Am I justs being paranoid or is this a topic of genuine concern? What should I do to convince her being in a group alone does not guarantee safety from a  rapist?  

Before this advice became the echo in public safety and the media began posting it, how has this advice turned out for you when you grrew up in the Streets of LA (because I wouldn't be surprise if a poor white daddy warned his girl to always hang out with a group of females if she couldn't go with a musclebound male)?

Also a bit of questioning about the nature of violence between the sexes. Aside from the stereotypical "nerdy" guy and Academia, I noted in one of the examples above that it was guys who intervened to stop a rapist and the media always show male stranger being the heroic bystander when it comes to preventing a rape. And you seen my shock that the 30 or so comfort women didn't try to overrun he Japanese soldier despite outnumbering him and the soldier completely in lalaland during his session being unarmed and even closing his eyes as he was in pleasure.

I read in a few similar POW incidents where a bunch of Japanese soldiers were heavily outnumbered by the captured, when they got careless the soldiers proceeded to kill some oft he armed guards and run away. Now granted the soldiers really OUTNUMBERED them a lot (50 men vs 10 armed guards), they attacked the guards when they got so careless, and they were mostly a bunch of capture Rangers or Marine Raiders (can't remember what the articles said) so they were special forces who knew how to survive in the jungle and escape prison, etc.

But the circumstances was so familiar to the comfort woman except more lethal because these Japanese soldiers although they were careless actually had loaded rifles with bayonets attached and if it were say a grunt marine or rune of the mill privates who were captured, they probably would have been shot  for trying an obvious attempts to fight back. But it was so similar I can't help but wonder if females are far terrible about intervening than males.

Because seriously the incident where the nerd locked up girls in the room and they were terrified of trying to escape or fight back; that guy literally had the reputation as a "pussy" not just among the jocks of the college  even the nerdies mocked him as a cowardly bitch. At least one non-athlete who was out of shape said in the interview witht he police int he aftermath that he remembered he just merely told him to get away from his female friend and he ran away like he was running for his life and I already told you of how jocks would pound their fist across their other open palm and he'd croak in fear. Just seem to imply something in the female psych  that leads to different responses.

I don't need to repeat the 5'1 fat guy who dragged the rapist down by himself.

Forgive me if I'm wrong but do girls in general tend to be far more reluctant about intervening even if a family member is being raped or beaten?

Because even in group of athletic girls (we're talking about girls who do things that require very fit bodies such as cheerleading and gymnastics and even take up some fighting sport/martial art/selfdefense classes), the first response is to call intervention of males or use a phone to call the authorities rather than stopping  the rapist in the act despite the FACT the RAPIST is far more fucking weak  and LACKS a WEAPON or any other edge and even the men they call are even WEAKER physically than they are and many of the times lack any training in self defense or martial arts.

I mean if it were a bunch of jocks seeing their friends get beaten, they would immediately throw a suckerpunch  or drag the guy and hold him  on the ground and than proceed to beat his nose bloody. Even nerds become "valiant" and can beat the guy brutally up  if the guy is a bit stronger because they go numbers on their side to beat up the fucker who is messing with one of their buddies.

Again I'm sorry if I'm splitting out cliches and BS, but it just seems so ingrained in human psychology and all incidents the news always portrays bystander intervention as this. We never see int he newspapers a bunch of women trained in boxing punching the pervert  because he tried to rip off the clothes of their group's beta when she went to the bathroom.

But I read a story recently that some older Afghani women shot down someone trying to drag their sister away from the house so I am doubting if its merely female psychology that prevents girls from physically intervening.

Is it a cultural thing in North America? Thats my conclusion because even the biggest BADASSES in movies, TV, comics, and novels always find themselves as damsels in distresses where they are at a risk of possible rape (even if they are shown killing hordes of violent thugs a few episodes earlier). Even though no impending rape was implied, Princess Leia embodies this image of "trained amazon" being helpless when int he hands of a pervert (although LEia did kill Jabba the Hut).

I got a lot more questions later. But even some certified psychologists are stating women are far less likely to intervene as opposed to men and there are more likely to freeze. No kidding, I really heard this from many talk shows such as Dr. Phil.

It's still not that simple.

The modern term is cock blockers. These are the names given to female friends by guys who run interference on the guys trying to pick up one of their numbers.

The numbers game usually works. Until it doesn't.

To understand this there's some necessary back ground. First off women moving in groups and looking out for each other goes back millions of years. It is only recently that there was a push towards a woman should be able to walk naked into a biker bar and not be molested attitude. Then ~gasp~ oh my gawd, some genius came up with the idea that women moving in groups are safer. Really? Seriously? You think this is news?

Second, a BIG part of the bonding process is going off alone and finding out about the other person without interference. Before you read more, chase this link.

(Really read that link before you read more)

Third, when a woman broadcasts her availability, she cannot determine who receives the message.

Fourth, there is a lot of determining and judging of a person's value ... done by the female. This is important because of #3, a lot of the guys who will be responding to her message are people she deems as not worthy. Contrast this with the high value guys she's hoping to attract. This is REALLY important. Because if it's the wrong guy who responds to the message, it's bad, harassment and scary. But if the right guy responds well it's hot and exciting.

Fifth, there are some really fucked up interpretations about this. This is like fishing and then complaining you're the victim when the wrong kind of fish are biting.

So with that foundational information in mind let's look at going out in a group.Like I said, overall it works.

The reasons for it doesn't work can be broken down into three major categories

One- She thinks he's hot. In this case, she's going to follow the bonding process step of going off into isolation. And straight up -- since women control the process -- NOBODY is going to tell her no. Not society, not family, not friends and even cock blockers. She wants to go off with him, she's going off with him. (This ESPECIALLY if she's drunk and horny.)

Two -- her friends are about as reliable and focused as kittens. While it can be deliberate, most times it's not abandoment, it's just they get distracted and forget that they're supposed to be looking out for each other. (A nasty hybrid is she wants to leave and they don't -- so she sets off out on her own.)

Three -- small numbers get in too far over their heads. Important safety tip, taking a female friend with you to a biker party out in the woods isn't enough fire power to keep you safe. But then again, in those circumstances then neither is self-defense. (This last scenario is closest to what you were talking about with the comfort women.)

My best advice if you are concerned for your sister (and she's convinced she can take care of herself) is print off the Bonding Process page and get her to read it.

Because there's nothing else that's going to be worth a damn to help keep her safe -- especially if she's insisting on going out.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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