We all assume we’ll never be in the situation where we have to escape an abduction. And the odds are in your favor that it won’t happen to you. However, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself and your loved ones on what to do if someone tries to kidnap you. The information presented in this article isn’t meant to replace formal self-defense training. However, you may find some of these tips helpful if you are ever a victim and need to escape abduction.
1. Fight As If Your Life Depends On It (Because It Probably Does)
Unless you are being kidnapped for ransom, your abductor is most likely a serial killer or sexual predator (or both). When this is the case, the odds of you walking away alive are slim to none. The reality of the situation is that you will be killed at some point, so when the abduction is attempted, FIGHT DIRTY. Go for the eyes, groin, nose and other sensitive spots. Your elbow is your strongest weapon. Jab it anywhere you can. If you are attacked from behind, bring your elbow back into the attackers ribs. If you have a weapon on you (e.g. knife, gun, pepper spray) now is the time to use it. Keys, ink pens, hand sanitizers and large rings can also be good weapons. Most abductors do not want to kill you or seriously harm you until they get you from point A to point B. If you put up a strong fight, there’s a better chance they will run away.
HERE is a video of some self-defense pressure points that can deliver a lot of pain to your attacker.
2. Make a Scene
Experts advise you NOT to scream hysterically. Bystanders are more likely ignore screaming and cries for “help.” Yell specifically what is happening. Example: “I’m being kidnapped! Call 911!” or “He is chasing me with a knife!” Self-defense trainers recommend teaching your children to be specific as well. Phrases like, “She is not my mom/He is not my dad!” or “Help me! I don’t know this person!” or “Leave me alone! I don’t know you!” are more likely to draw attention from bystanders. If there are bystanders nearby, make them involved by grabbing on to them.
Another tip: Yell direct orders. Many abductors, especially sexual offenders, see you as their prey and will not be put off by hysterical screaming. In fact, they often prefer it that way. They are more likely to respond to direct orders from you. Example: “Let go of me!” or “Don’t come near me!” The tougher, more assertive you are, the more likely they will back away.
This sounds like a no brainer, but often times a scared victim will freeze in place especially if the abductor has a weapon. As stated earlier, most abductors do not want to kill you or seriously harm you until they get you from point A to point B. It is suggested that you run even if your attacker has a gun because your attacker is not likely to shoot you during the abduction. Still, it’s a good idea to run in a zig zag motion in case they open fire. Another tip when you’re fleeing is to put things between you and your attacker. Whether it’s a garbage can, bike rack or your living room couch, this barrier could buy you those precious few moments you need for help to arrive (or for your attacker to lose steam). While you’re running, do not forget to “make a scene.” The longer you can evade your abductor, the more likely someone will come to your aid. If you’re inside your home and unable to get outside, run to the kitchen. Your kitchen has the most weapons that should be used without hesitation.
4. Lie About Your Advantages
Abductors don’t want to be caught and if they think they are at risk, they are most likely to run away. Security cameras are often a huge deterrent for criminals, so if you’re in trouble point out the nearby security cameras and if there aren’t any, point out the ones that aren’t there. Example, “That ATM machine has a security camera pointed right at us” or “I have home security cameras recording all of this!” Experts recommend pointing out anything that remotely resembles a security camera. Second tip, if you can’t dial 911, lie and say you did. Example, “I just hit the panic button on my phone. The police are on their way.” Finally, lying about the location of a police station or pretending to know a high ranking police officer may also help your case. Example, “There’s a police station two blocks from here. Why are you doing this?” or “My father is the chief of police. You can’t get away with this.”
5. Escape Abduction Using a Choke Hold
Whether it’s from behind or you are being held down, being choked is frightening and panic-inducing. Consequently, we often aren’t as effective when we panic. If you are put in a choke hold from behind, it is best to either (1) Bite your attacker’s arm. Note: it is more painful if you bite just a small piece of his/her skin than to take a giant mouthful of flesh. (2) Stomp their feet. Don’t hold back. (3) Elbow to the ribs (4) Snap your leg back as if you’re going to kick yourself in the butt. This move can either injure your attacker’s shins or hit a male attacker in the groin. If you are being held down and choked, self-defense trainers recommend hitting the attacker in the groin or any other sensitive spots, including eyes, nose and throat. If you are unable to break free or injure your attacker enough to get him or her to stop, it is recommended by some to pretend to pass out. If you’re unconscious, they will likely loosen or remove their hold on you. Passing out too soon may appear suspicious though.
6. Breaking Free from Zip Ties
First thing, when being tied up with anything, be as tense as possible then relax when the kidnapper is done. This way, the ties will be looser thus making it easier to escape. Zip ties are a common restraint used by abductors and can easily be broken or removed if you know the right technique. In THIS video, the demonstrator shows you how to break a zip tie if you are restrained with your hands in front of you. Another technique is to push the shim of the zip tie open, which can be done with a finger nail or other pointed object. THIS video shows you how to do it. Some self-defense experts recommend that once you are bound by an abductor to play a passive role in your abduction. This will lead your abductor to believe that you won’t try to escape.
7. Breaking Free from Duct Tape
Duct tape is the weakest at the edges. All it takes is a small tear to break through layers of duct tape. If your hands are restrained in front of you, bring your arms above your head and swing them down, sending your elbows past your sides. This tears the tape at the sides. THIS video gives a demonstration on how it’s done. Self-defense experts also recommend staying in control of how your wrists are bound by your captor. Keeping your wrists side-by-side or crossed makes it easier to wiggle your way out of both duct tape, rope and zip ties. These are demonstrated in the image above.
8. When You’re Pulled Into a Car
There are several options you can use if you are ever pulled into an abductor’s car. Some recommend that you cause the car to crash while traveling at a very slow speed. This can be achieved by (a) Grabbing the steering wheel at a crucial time, like when he’s making a turn. Aim for anything (e.g. bushes, trees, fence) but avoid hitting innocent people. (b) Forcing the key out of the ignition and killing the engine. (c) Slamming his foot while it’s on the ignition. This should also be done at a crucial time. (d) Attacking his eyes and/or pushing your back against the passenger door and violently kicking him. Another option is to jam something into the ignition before the car is started, whether it’s a stick, a button from your shirt, whatever you can find. This prevents the car from ever being started, which reduces your chances of being taken to a separate location.
9. Escape Abduction from a Car Trunk
Newer cars have a glow-in-the-dark emergency latch that makes escaping a trunk a lot easier. Wait until the car comes to a stop and jump out. If the car doesn’t have a latch or you cannot find it, it’s recommended that you either kick out the tail lights or kick the hood of the trunk towards the center, but close to the latch. This can break the latch if you do it hard enough. If you kick out a tail light, use your hand to signal to others for help. If you are unable to escape the trunk using any of these methods, another option is to find any weapons that can be used against your attacker. You can remove a shoelace to strangle your attacker or find an object lying around. It is also recommended that you leave as much evidence behind (just in case). Hair, saliva, fingernail clippings, whatever you can leave behind will build a stronger case against your captor when he/she is arrested.
10. Preventative Actions
Unfortunately, we cannot control what predators will and won’t do, but there are actions we can take to reduce the chances of being victimized. First, kidnappers prefer that you’re distracted so they can move in for a surprised attacked. If you’re walking alone at night, it’s best not to have your headphones in or to be distracted by your cellphone. With that, be conscious of your surroundings, including sights and sounds. Second, carry a safety device. A cellphone, pepper spray, whistle, etc, are all good items to have in case you don’t feel safe. Third, if you have a common route home from work or school, never use dark parking lots or alleys as shortcuts. Make sure your route has plenty of safe spots to run into if you are being followed. Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or coworker to escort you to your car or other short distances. Finally, always trust your gut. If the man walking 10 steps behind you is giving you a bad feeling, don’t worry about hurting his feelings. Play it safe.