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When asked:  Why didn't you fight harder


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Not sure where to post this, so my apologies if this is in the wrong spot.  I have been asked: Why didn't you fight harder? by so many people.  At the time, I can never seem to come up with a reply.  I'm just wondering what others say and how they feel about that question.  I'm in the process of writing my grandma a letter regarding her responses to me on certain issues including the r*pe.  She is the one that crams that question in my face every time I speak to her.  

I don't know why I didn't fight.  If I could remember how it all happened maybe I could come up with an answer.  I'm guessing I was scared.  I had already said "no" twice and he had said he wouldn't hurt me, but he did.  I guess my fear silenced me...

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Guest Yeowly


I don't think that people who haven't gone thru something like this can really understand, it's not like they are trying to be mean, but they just don't get it.  I mean, I have the same sort of question about an experience I had, and it's really hard.........  I don't know.  I guess I will just say this- don't let anyone make this less or more important than it is for you- everyone's experiences are different. AND DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU DOUBT YOURSELF!!!!!!  I know that is so #### easy to say- but I hope you can try, I know I've doubted myself and that was one of the hardest things for me to deal with... I am still dealing with it.  I hope this helped, even if just a little bit.  And you know what- you don't need to justify anything to anyone but yourself- that's the most important thing- how you percieve it, how you feel about it.  Sorry for rambling- hoping you are ok,


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This has to be the number one ass-kicker question of all survivors.

No matter how hard we try to blame ourselves for the things that were done to us, there is always an answer to this question, and everybody has their own reasons.

I know why I didn't fight.

I felt like it was my fault.

It was because my father took my power from me.

I was very afraid

I did not fight because he showed me I was worthless, and

that I did not matter.

I was silenced way before I was ever raped. I had no voice growing up.

I was sooo ashamed.

I still have a hard time sometimes, trying not to put the blame on me, and it is a very large hurdle to get over, but in reality I know this was not my fault.


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**rant on**

This question really bothers me.  In my opinion, if you aren't a survivor, then you really don't have any right to ask this question of someone who is.  I'm sorry, but it's how I feel.  I know that every situation is different and every person's response is different, but I have to believe that on some basic level some sort of self-preservation instinct took over and we did what was best for us in order to survive both in mind and body.  Does it help to take that question and turn it around a little bit?   What if you did try to fight and failed?  What would the consequences have been?  Would it have made it worse for you? harder? more violent?  Perhaps that little self-preservation instinct went through that scenerio, and decided it was too great of a chance to risk.

**rant off**

Sometimes I think that the only answer to that question for someone who hasn't been in your shoes is, "I did the best that I could for me at the time."  End of conversation.  The only person who has any right to ask the question of you is you if you want to.  And FEAR is a perfectly acceptable answer.  And you shouldn't have to be ashamed or feel guilty for being afraid.  

Well, this is just my silly little opinion on the topic.  If it offended anybody, I'm sorry.  I hadn't intended it that way.  It just strikes a raw nerve somewhere inside of me.

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You're right - this is the No. 1 Great Evil Question of Death. And much as it hurts to say and acknowledge and come to terms with, fear IS a #### good reason to have not fought back. I know it was mine. It took me quite a while to accept that. And it is difficult to hear someone ask you that, because you're telling them what happened specifically because you trust and love them enough to understand. So when they say "How hard did you fight back?" or "Did you fight back?" you almost feel betrayed because you think "How dare you? I thought you knew me. How DARE you ask me if I fought back? You can't possible imagine what this was like for me. You can go to blazes."

So, to answer your question hun, this is what I told my friend when she asked me why I didn't fight back more than I did: Because they were much stronger than me. Because they'd already hurt me and I knew they'd hurt me worse if I didn't do what they said. Because I was very bloody scared.

When people ask questions like this, they deserve the truth. Even if the truth is "I didn't fight back because I was scared." Hearing it as blunt as that will probably help them to cope, too.

Wish I could have been more helpful. (((April)))

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I'm lucky, I have never heard that question (I haven't told too many people though) but I am sure if someone asked that, the convo would be over.

Noone has the right to make the survivor defend what they did or didn't do.

*You* were the victim, and not what *you* did was wrong, but what *he* did! You should never even have had to fight!

Possible answers for me could be:

Who are you to judge if I fought hard enough? Were you there with me?

I survived...is that not enough?

Oh good question...why did I just not stop someone who was 30 centimetres taller than me and twice my weight?

Why do you ask stupid questions like this?

What I find helpful in avoiding stupid questions is not giving out details...I don't talk about the other abuse unless I know there is someone who will understand, I just say "I have been raped" and refuse to give out any more info...when, where, how and with whom it happened is *my* business.


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Honey, I haven't read all the other wonderful responses yet, but I have to give you my gut reaction on your behalf. Thinking that someone asked you "why didn't you fight harder" makes my gut respond with a hefty "F*CK YOU!" People don't know what they are talking about when it comes to this issue. I think many people desperately want to believe that it can't happen to them and if they can find something to say which goes like this "well I would have done X differently so it couldn't have happened to me." That is merely an illusion of safety. And it's one that detracts from the support and empathy you need and deserve right now. Had you fought you could have gotten hurt much worse. You followed your instincts to get out of that situation with the least damage possible--GOOD FOR YOU! That is what you are supposed to do! This may sound trite, but sweetheart, remember that people can't know what they don't know. If they have no frame of reference and are too clouded by their own fear and prejudices, they will not be able to give you what you need...but that does not mean that your needs or experiences aren't valid. It just means that you need to look elsewhere... like here ;)

I believe in you.

Take gentle care,


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i feel that people who havent gone thru a r*pe or something along those lines can really understand... you shouldnt have to justify yourself, sometimes fear just gets the better of people and they cant fight...

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Guest raqueli


I also feel the need to rant a little bit.  Fuck you does seem the most therapeutic and appropriate response.

I agree that people want to find some reason to blame you, so that they feel that there's something they could do (fight "better," as if they have ANY idea what they'd do in the situation) to prevent themselves being raped.  But it's bullshit.  By questioning your judgement, your decisions in a situation where YOU were being victimized, they are wounding you again.  You shouldn't have had to make any decisions, you shouldn't have had to fight at all, because the rapist shouldn't have BEEN THERE.  

And why ask YOU questions about your behaviour?  Why not ask the rapist why, instead of sitting at home watching Bambi, he decided to go and rape someone???  

OK, enough ranting.  But don't feel that you need to explain yourself or defend your actions to anyone.  I've never had exactly that question, but I've had other questions that sort of made me feel defensive, and one decent answer is: "what difference does it make?"  Basically, turn it around and ask them why they care about that detail of your nightmare.

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Very interesting thread...Why didn't I fight harder??? I guess I was scared. Most of the times I did fight I ended up getting hurt even worse, so I guess expirience told me that it wasn't worth it. I guess I came to a point of acceptance..as scary as that may sound I think that was what happend. I tried to fight, but I wasn't good at it either so giving up seemed like the right thing to do.

You don't have to deffend what you did...you did the only thing you could do at that very moment...no shame should be put on that.

Take care and thank you for posting


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((((Hugs)))) to All !!!!

I never imagined this many replies, thank you for all your support and advise.  I haven't decided yet if I will still contact my grandmother...but if and before I do I will think about all that you all said.

This question is something that has been shoved in my face so many times, and I guess each time I just get silenter and silenter (I'm guessing that's not even a word), not really sure how to reply to the people asking the question.  I could just imagine my grandmother's face, if I were to say F*ck You!  

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Maybe when someone asks again, you can answer with :

"Oh yes, that's a good idea. I'll keep in mind for the next time. Why didn't I think of it? How hard would you think is hard enough??? When I have 10 bruises? Or 25? Or when I have several cuts? Or when I'm unconscious? In a coma? Worse even? Tell me: how hard would be hard enough?"

If after that they still don't get it, they're not even worth the effort.

Of course, they might get upset for a while, because they'll feel exposed, well that serves them right then.


I hope you'll never ever get that question again.

And I hope the same for every survivor.

:) What can I say? I love to be naieve sometimes.


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Cherry Blossom

Why didn't you fight harder...

I've only had it asked of me once by a very stupid ex-friend.  At first I couldn't believe that she said it so it took me a while to respond, but when I eventually did I said something like:

"Am I alive, right now, talking to you, coherantly and in good health?"


"Then I accomplished my main goal at the time.  And I don't have to explain my actions any furthur to anybody."

I did add a nice F*CK YOU afterwards but in my head because I'm polite that way.  Plus impressionable young children were near by.  

(((((((April))))))))  You are accountable to NO ONE but yourself for your actions in suc a situation.  Everyone else can just shove their half-assed opinions where the sun don't shine.

Take care of yourself,


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I like that response, I'll have to use that next time, cause I'm sure there will be a next time.  I'm sorry your ex-friend asked you that questions.  

Love Always!

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I've told people that I had about 30 seconds to make myself believe that this was really happening and decide what to do.  I had no place to go it I fought my way out and I didn't think that I would be able to get away.  I decided that I didn't want to get hurt.  I acomplished that...I wasn't hurt physcially at all.

Ask then how good a a plan they could come up in less than 30 seconds???  People don't realise how fast the chance to change things goes away...how fast our lives change.

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:(  sorry guys, this may be very *T*, i got a little angry and confused here...

this question plagues me every day. my boyfriend asks me that constantly, and tells me all the little things i could've done to prevent it from happening at all. the thing is, he's right about a lot of them. maybe i SHOULD be able to go out alone at night but this is the very reason i CAN'T. and now i've learned that firsthand, when i should've just known better. my pride and my strength and my self-awareness are the very things that got me in trouble, b/c i thought i could handle a situation that i obviously couldn't, and those scumbags took me as a special little challenge, because they thought i needed to be put in my place and it pisses me off b/c that's what they did... i no longer go out alone at night. ever. b/c i'm scared, and i was scared that night too. sometimes, i am so with all of you and absolutely believe that that is a perfectly valid answer... but then i get so mad at myself, b/c when i started to feel uncomfortable in the situation i stuck around... of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and my answer is often this - "well, if i had known in advance what was going to happen, i would'nt even have gone there that night. but i didn't, and i had to evaluate and process every second as it happened, and at no point did i think to myself: i'm about to be raped, i gotta get outta here." was i naive? i believe so, yes. but these guys knew exactly what they were doing, and trapped me early. i ended up doing things i wouldn't have ever done EVER, except i found myself high and scared and completely not in control of the situation. this is barely satisfactory to me, and i am working on accepting fear as a valid reason to do or not do things...

the next question is often "what were you afraid of? they didn't have a gun to your head!" well,no, they didn't, but i didn't know if they had one and i didn't want to find out.

anyway this got very rambly and triggery and i'm sorry for that... i didn't mean to... i just struggle with this very question every single day, it hits me hard and i have to constantly defend myself on it. i just have to try to remember that no one who hasn't experienced this is capable of true understanding. it just sucks that those people don't even understand THAT... it's incomprehensible to them that this doesn't fit into any frame of reference that they have...

rambling again! anyway i hope that we all find some comfort in at least one thing every day. yesterday i saw the most magnificent rainbow, took up the whole sky, and seriously i almost bust out crying when i saw it, if i was alone i def would have. lets me know there are good, beautiful things out there, and that i am one of them... and so are all of you!!!!!

take care,


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Your right i think the fear silences us, i know with my "R"ist he was tripe the strength of me i tried MY BEST as i am sure you did

Take care


Good luck with letter

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Guest Ordinary Vanity

I can't believe someone is actually a$$inine enough to ask you this, hon

When people are violating us...when they are bigger, stronger, and we can't stop them by saying no...at that point, we do whatever it takes to get out of the situation.  Fighting back "more" can be dangerous, or even get you killed...we have NO IDEA what someone who attacks us or violates us is truly capable of.

I was coerced into sex...I never said "no" but I didn't want it to happen and my actions said as much.  He was much bigger than me, and I remember just "fading out"...distancing myself from the situation.  I was in a strange city with a man I hardly knew...I didn't know HOW he would react if I struggled more, screamed, etc...he could have killed me, or beat the h*ll out of me.  I might not ever have seen the people I loved again.

We were attacked...we could have DIED.  We are survivors, and that is absolutely not an exaggeration.  Ask your grandmother if she's even been attacked by someone bigger and stronger, utterly alone, with no way to free yourself from the situation without possibly risking your life.

Again...what an a$$inine question.  ((((((hugs))))), for having to listen to her sh*t. hon.  You don't deserve that kind of "help".

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You know what.  You DO NOT have to explain yourself to ANYONE.  You did what you had to do for you.  It was him who should been questioned.. not you.  You did nothing wrong.

When my grandmorther was comparing me to my 2 cousines that werer abused and she told me that she didn't beliefe it happened. I told her flat out..

" Look yu weren't there.  You were not the one under that man.  You were not the one being smothered, you were not the one who thought you were gonna die.  I am sick and tired of everyone blaming me for something that he did.  He was the adult,, i was the kid.  He could of killed me and no one seems to care about that.  I'm the one who lives iwth the memories adn the fears and teh pain.  I did what I had to for that moment,, IF you can do better... they you go back in time and you try it."  

With that I walked away and gave her the silent treatemnt for a whole day.  I was NOT happy,,,,,, at all,, then she tried to buy me off with a 100 bucks.      Hah. can't buy my trust.

April,, the point to all this is YOU were the one that survived adn you are the one that is taking responsiblity,, I highly doubt he is......so who should be questioned here...........????????//

Be gentel with yourself.


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i'm just boosting this b/c after i posted yesterday my mood went down down down and by the time i went to bed i found it difficult to even breathe and nothing i thought of could make me feel better.

am i alone in this way of thinking?:

my rapists were wrong ultimately, and it is ABSURD that when a girl says 'no' a guy thinks it's ok to continue until she's fighting violently for her life, esp. when you consider what we have all verified - when in fear, you don't know how you will react, and you distance yourself from the situation, and sometimes just going with it for fear of the consequences is what happens. not many people understand this. what's so fucking difficult for a guy to just STOP when a girl says 'no'???? we are all just supposed to assume that they won't stop? and get physically violent if we want our intentions to be 'clear', b/c that is the only way they will understand the very simple word "NO"??? it's so fucking absurd. and it's all about respect, and the lack thereof. all of this, i know you all agree with me on.

however, i do feel that there were things i could've done to prevent the situation! and if i can't admit that, then how can i learn from it, and possibly prevent it from happening in the future? i KNOW it is ridiculous that a guy can't understand that No actually means No, and not Maybe, or I'm Just Kidding, or I Don't Want to Appear Slutty So Just Keep Trying Because I Really Want You, or Yes, Yes, Please Yes!  but, when i find myself in a situation where there is no reason for the guy(s) i am hanging with to give a shit about me and i start to feel the least bit uncomfortable, I SHOULD LEAVE! but i didn't. i didn't want them to know i was afraid in the least, and acted like nothing was wrong, and stuck around assuming i could handle whatever came my way. well that's naive and dangerous thinking and i don't want to learn the hard way that most guys don't think it's so absurd to keep going when a girl says 'no'! i KNEW that! the world is NOT the way it should be! why didn't i listen to my instincts?? i mean, what made me think they would REALLY respect my request to just leave me alone?  i made that mistake, and now i am paying for it.

i know this is harsh, but i feel that although the ultimate blame absolutely goes to the sick bastards who violate women because they can, but if i don't take some of the responsibility for putting myself in a dangerous situation, then it is bound to happen again. i should have risked looking stupid and weak and scared and in over my head, and gotten my ass out of that hotel room. i should have fought harder before anything even happened, i should have fought before i lost complete control of the situation by running out the #### door. my worst nightmare came true b/c i was scared and my pride got in the way. and now look at my pride! dammit i have to search for some. and although it's getting better i should have been stronger than that and just walked the fuck out, even though it sucks that i felt threatened in the first place and that walking out of that room was even necessary. well, it was. and i didn't do it. but in the future i will obviously be much more on guard and acutely aware of my instincts.

i know i don't have complete control over what happens and that sometimes things happen that i can not prevent at all, and i also know that i can't live my life in constant fear, constantly trying to prevent things that may never happen. i can only have my wits about me and evaluate situations the best i can, and i have to say, that night i did not pay close enough attention to my instincts and i thought i could handle anything, and i was proved wrong about that.

my darlings i'm so sorry,i know this is triggery and i'm feeling bad about things ... but this is something i don't WANT to give up the responsibility for. if i do that, that's letting caution go to the wind and making myself more vulnerable. what happened after i made that misjudgement was NOT my fault, but it could have been prevented, knowing that the world is the way it is.

i'm sorry if i've offended anyone, it's not my intention, and i hope ihaven't made anyone feel bad. actually, if anyone has made it this far thru my post i thank you sincerely. just venting i guess.

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You basically just said everything that I've been trying to say in regards to why I put some blame on myself. Wow!  I was not offended in one way for what you said.  This question of "why didn't you fight" is something that just makes me so angry...but I have a problem that when I get angry I just walk away and never say anything...allowing the other person to think that I am just fine with their statement.  Ok, now I'm rambling.

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Would it be ok with all the posters in this thread if I moved it to 'Wonderful Threads', bearing in mind that forum is open to the public?

If not could you PM me asap.



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((((April)))) hunny thank you for understanding. i have a feeling everyone here can relate on some level with that... b/c we all blame ourselves, but we often blame ourselves for things that are NOT our fault, which is what we have to work on. it sucks that life has to teach us things this way sometimes, but i guess there's nothing we can do about that.

Em - i have no problem with this thread moving to a public forum at all.

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fear..i freeze.. i can't do anything..

Even counselor blamed me for not doing anything..'Why weren't u fighting' that stupid b*tch asked..i stood up and walked out of that room..never seen her again..

And felt even more disgusting for weeks..

I blame only myself often, and then i try not to, but when others ask i freak out..

They should shut up..

Take care..

Love Maaike

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