Self Defence Psychology - What makes a victim?

Various factors may contribute to an individual being identified as a possible victim by a would-be predator. Many of these are things the victim is utterly unaware they are presenting; actions and reactions that make them look weak and vulnerable.

A study conducted in New York in 1981 consisted of 60 random individuals walking down the street being videotaped in black and white without audio. The tapes were shown to prisoners sentenced for violent assault, who were asked to select individuals they felt would be easy targets.

A pattern emerged as offender after offender singled out many of the same individuals as potential victims. Analysis revealed that the way these individuals

walked and carried themselves made them look timid and unsure. Non verbal communication has since emerged as one of the primary ways predators select their victims.

Additional factors that can contribute to marking you as a victim are timidity of speech or demeanour and cowering in the face of belligerence or aggression. Signs of fear or anxiety encourage a wouldbe predator, who will attack expecting you to curl up in a submissive ball when threatened.

Victims are also more commonly attacked when they are alone or in the company of somone who appears vulnerable (Example - man alone, man with friend but both drunk, man accompanied by wife or child). Predators will attempt to isolate potential victims from the groups also, creating their own opportunity

You could also be targeted if you inadvertently put yourself in a vulnerable position - deciding to step into an alley alone for a smoke, flashing cash or valuables, or drinking to excess