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Self Defense/peri-orbital abrasions


Hi Marc, I've been binge-reading your material for a couple of months now, and thoroughly appreciating the value you offer to the world.

I've had this question in mind for a while and thought you might be able to shed some light on it.  Certain RBSD literature I have encountered describes the phenomenon of "peri-orbital abrasions" commonly being used to identify murderers who had killed victims by strangulation, indicating that although the victim had the opportunity to actually gouge the eye and possibly change the outcome of the encounter, what instead came about was ineffective scratching at the outer edges of the eye sockets.  The implication being that you need to have gone there in your mind, in training, beforehand, in order to be able to go there under the stress of a life-and-death encounter.

However, when I've tried to do a general Internet search for "peri-orbital abrasions", nothing comes up.  I'm just wondering if this is actually a common phenomenon?

Secondary question is, do you know of a way to subscribe to a particular expert's answers on this site?

Tertiary question is, have you discovered Quora yet?  It seems like something that might be up your alley. :)

Thanks in advance for your time!

Short answers
Never heard it put that way
Don't know

First off strangulation is incredibly rare form of murder. Someone has to be really, really dedicated to having you dead to do it. It takes a long time and that includes AFTER the person has passed out.

With that in mind I have to ask "What the fuck are they on about?" Which, given the RBSD crowd is a question I ask ... a lot. This has the smell of someone who found an obscure term and is using it to impress people how much in the know he is.

Straight up, if they're talking about homicide and ineffective response when it comes to not being murdered they've completely skipped over a much bigger subject. Also a common manifestation of such wounds. Rape.

Gee, I wonder why.

Abrasions on the rapist are not uncommon when the victim tries to fight back. Except they are all over the torso, limbs, neck and face.  Eyes are very small targets and not likely to be hit unless specifically aimed at. (Keep this in mind, we'll come back to it.)

There are also defensive wounds. That is the type of wounds that you take while covering up against an attack. These usually on the limbs. While usually on the victim (who was overwhelmed) they can show up on an attacker when a victim tries to fight back.

Four elements (and coming back to it)

One is there is a strong instinct to protect one's eyes. If someone is trying to scratch your eye, the common response is to turn your face away. That takes the scratch away from the eye and onto the face. The next response is to jerk the head away. To effectively gouge out an eyeball you have to trap the head (whether holding it or pressing the back against a surface)

Two, although most states qualify rape as 'grievous bodily injury -- and therefore justifying use of lethal force -- gouging out an eye is maiming. That is a deliberate act and unless death or grievous bodily is what is going to happen to you if you don't maiming is going to get your ass thrown into prison. So 'training for it' without this standard is a fast track to the prison showers.

Three, in teaching women self-defense against rape we teach how to pop an eyeball out. (Rape = grievous bodily injury remember?) Having said that, it is the last thing we teach in the seminar. Even after all day training and consciously knowing what's going to happen to them if they don't, most women are squeamish and hesitant to gouge an eye out. It is maiming -- and they know it. So someone who isn't squeamish and hesitant ... yeah, you need to watch such a person.

Four, scratching is more of an escape move. It happens when someone is trying to stop someone else's forward motion and the scratcher is trying to get away. In other words it 'reads as defense.' Taking an eyeball out requires commitment and going forward. Now while that may be because the only way out is over the guy, that's a much harder sell. If you do it, you had not only have had damned good reason, but be able to explain those reasons to the cops and the jury -- because the DA is going to be selling the story that you were the monster who maimed that poor innocent victim.

escape vs. attack  

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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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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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