Author | Permission to Use Info | Print PDF

Reader’s Question: I know that you say that it’s safer to walk away, but I worry that just leaving will show an attacker that I’m afraid. Won’t walking away make me look weak?

Kidpower Answer: There is a self-defense technique that our law enforcement and martial arts experts tell us is the best technique of all time. The official name for this technique isTarget Denial, which means denying yourself as a target to a person who might be dangerous to you or, in other words, Don’t be there! Nothing works all the time, but you can remove yourself from harm’s way with your body – and with your feelings – most of the time.

The sad reality is that too many people have ended up dead, injured, or in jail because they were afraid of appearing weak.

Of course, how you walk away makes a big difference! If you cower, put your head down, and act scared, this will indeed make you look weak. If you act tough and challenge someone, that is likely to provoke a confrontation even though you might be moving away.

Instead, if you act like a powerful respectful leader, you will look strong even as you are leaving to get to a safer place. You can learn to do this no matter how scared, upset, or angry you feel inside. This is why we have our students practice walking away from someone being insulting or threatening with a calm, aware, and confident attitude.

You are welcome to download this Featured Article for personal use, and print one (1) copy for free – as long as you keep the PDF "as is" and do not post or share electronically, per our Permission to Use Requirements. By completing this form, you agree to receive emails from Kidpower and understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.
You will receive an email with a secure, encrypted link to download the PDF. Please consider a donation to support our free online resources. Are you a member? Sign-up or Login for direct downloads (without entering your name and email) and free access to hundreds more Kidpower resources.

For more information about Kidpower’s resources for teaching these People Safety Skills and concepts, please visit our online Library (free community membership) and our RelationSafe™ Bookstore.

(Are you a member? Sign-up or Login for direct downloads and free access to 100s more Kidpower resources.)


Copyright © 2012 - present. All rights reserved.

Published: March 20, 2012   |   Last Updated: July 27, 2016

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.