At what point are you actually under attack? At what point should you react? You are under attack as soon as someone does something you don’t want. You should react as soon as possible. I’m not talking about violence, at first, I mean use avoidance tactics to get away.
I’ll use an example from my own life when I was in college and living at home. It was the middle of the day and I was home alone. The day before I had a salesman come to the door that just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I finally slammed the door in his face. About the same time, there was another knock on the door and I stupidly (now I wouldn’t even answer the door) answered the door. It was another salesman and he wanted in to show me something or another. I told him no and he insisted. When I tried to close the door, he stuck his foot in the door so I couldn’t close it. I had done something right before answering the door and picked up a combat knife on the way to answer. I had been holding it behind my back while we were talking. I showed him the knife and said you aren’t coming in. He removed his foot and I closed the door.
Looking back there are about a million things I could have done better, but I was just out of high school and didn’t know better. But it did work and I never heard from him again. I should have called the cops too, but didn’t.
So in this case, at what point was I actually under attack? I was never physically under attack, but an attack had started. This person may or may not have meant me any ill will, but he did violate my personal space and had started a personal attack against me. I would say even before he stuck his foot in the door he started his attack when he refused to hear the word “no.”
I think when someone refuses to leave you alone when you tell them no, you are at the beginning of an attack and should recognize it for what it is. You can’t punch someone or pull your gun on them, but you should realize that you could be in danger and should react.
First, dig down deep and find that command voice your parents used on you when you did something wrong (or you use on your kids), and tell that person no, leave. Normally they will say something about you being a jerk as they leave. It’s the reaction you want if you are going to be attacked.
If the person still persists, you know that person is up to no good. If you are in a public place with people around, start yelling for help. Yelling something like, “Help call 911, call the police this guy is attacking me!” Unfortunately, in today’s society the likelihood that someone will actually help you is going down drastically, so you can’t count on actual help. What you are trying for is to get the attacker to leave you alone. Most people don’t want any attention and will hopefully leave.
If that doesn’t work, start thinking escape. Push the person to the ground and run. If you are at your door like I was, push them outside and close the door. Then call the cops. If you use any physical force, you need to call the cops. Being the first one to call helps. At this point you can also think about displaying a weapon, taking a fighting stance, or telling the person you have a weapon and will use it. If you do this you also need to call the police even if the person just runs off.
If all this doesn’t work, have no doubt, you are being attacked. You need to respond in kind and use that force which is reasonable and necessary to end the attack. Then get out of there and call the police.