Phase 3: Post-Attack

This is the last post explaining the attack cycle. If you haven’t read the previous posts, please follow the link to the Intro and read through the first and second phases.

The Post-Attack phase consists of two stages: escape and exploitation. This phase can be prolonged and may cause much grief, anxiety, pain, and/or suffering. So, I have color coded it as orange.

Phase 3

The escape stage is easy to understand, but there are some misconceptions and overlooked concepts. A common misconception is that this stage includes the victim’s escape. It is important to remember that all the stages in the attack cycle are all initiated by the attacker. Although someone being attacked can expedite the movement from stage to stage, only the attacker can move the stages forward or backward. For example, you have just successfully blocked a charm attack. Although you stopped the charm, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the attacker won’t just move straight into a blitz attack instead of searching for another target. Another way to think about this is if you are being attacked and you run away, the attacker can chase or follow you while continuing to attack.

One concept that is overlooked is the method of escape. Most escapes are probably going to be the kind where the attacker runs or drives away in a conspicuous manner, but this may not necessarily be the case. Some attackers may escape using a more inconspicuous way. The method of escape will really depend on these factors:

1) Experience of the attacker(s)

2) Amount of planning prior to the attack

3) Amount of training of the attacker(s)

4) Type of attack

Simply put, the less experience, training and planning that the assailant has, the more simplistic the escape will be. Ashwini Bhatt, an Indian CEO, was kidnapped on his drive through a remote area of India for a conference. In this attack, there were three tiers of kidnappers along the way. The first tier conducted the surveillance and were the best trained. The second tier stopped Bhatt’s vehicle in route to the conference taking him and his driver hostage. The second tier then drove to a secondary location and passed off the hostages to the third tier, who were responsible for guarding the hostages. The third tier was the least trained and made mistakes which allowed for the rescue. Who do you think wasn’t captured? The first or second tier. [1] That’s a very well planned out attack and escape.

Luckily for us, we probably will never have to worry about a three tier attack with multiple individuals. That isn’t to say that elaborate escapes can’t happen. For example, the way that Ted Bundy used the rouse of a cast. He would approach young women and lore these unsuspecting victims to his car by asking if they would help him carry something. Bundy would then bludgeon the victim with a staged weapon and move them to a secure location. It sounds simplistic to hit someone over the head and drive away, but it’s really not that simple. Look at this from Bundy’s perspective. He would drive around looking for an ideal secondary location. Once he found the perfect spot, he would create an elaborate rouse and plan to escape the initial attack that allowed him to move the victim to a secondary location (cast and pre-staged weapon). This is basically a three tier attack committed by one individual.

Exploitation is the stage that most people get confused with. Dictionary.com defines exploitation as “use or utilization, especially for profit” and “selfish utilization.” [2] In the context of this post, I define exploitation as the act of causing further suffering to the victim and/or family after the initial act of violence. In his book Facing Violence, Rory Miller explains that some inmates have confessed to him that they sue from jail due to boredom and nothing to lose (because it’s legal mail, it’s free, even the stamps). [3] This is just one way to continue to exploit a victim. There are several other ways that exploitations can happen. For example, in the Bhatt kidnapping the exploitation was ransom. For others, the exploitation comes even after death, like in this report. I would even consider a rape victim recounting the events of the attack to the police and at trial a form of exploitation. Trials can be long and very taxing on the victims and family members. It may take years to solve a case and even longer for the trial to end, which may not even end in conviction. See where I am going with this? Anything that the assailant does to the victim after the attack to cause more suffering or discomfort would fall into this stage, not to include subsequent attacks.

There is no easy answer for dealing with exploitation. The circumstances will dictate the action needed if anything can even be done. I know that’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s the truth. Knowing a good attorney or having one on retainer could prove useful. Having a support system to fall back on will too. This is probably the most important. In the future, I will go more into detail on psychological effects of being attacked and some ways that may help in dealing with those after effects.

1. Stratfor How to look for trouble: A stratfor guide to protective intelligence (Austin, TX: Stratfor (2010), 70-73
2. “exploitation.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Mar. 2014. .
3. Rory Miller Facing violence ( Wolfeboro, N.H.: YMAA Pub 2011), 183

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