I read a lot of girls' stories about how some guy grabs their breast and she has to shove him off, or punch or kick him. The guys usually give up and run away in these stories.

What do you do if they don't run away?

Having your breasts squeezed really hurts; I don't know what I'd do. The one that really scares me is if he grabs you from behind. If he's in front of you and grabs you, at least you can try to kick him.

  • I edited your question a little to make it read a little less rambly. Let me know if I change the meaning of it. Jan 19, 2018 at 7:50
  • It is best not to accept an answer for at least a few days. It leaves a chance for others to add their answer… The accepted kinda says "do not bother, that's what I was looking for". Jan 19, 2018 at 7:51
  • 1
    @Sardathrion: editing out the "tries to drag you to his car or rape you" part of the question means answers are unlikely to give the same coverage of these specific concerns....
    – Tony D
    Jan 19, 2018 at 16:39
  • @TonyD I was ambivalent about this. Grabbing a feel of breasts is sexual assault but not rape -- according to the definition. I felt that adding the rape case would expand the situation to being too broad. OP needs to confirm or deny, Jan 22, 2018 at 8:46

3 Answers 3


I agree with slugster's "if an attacker grabs your breasts then s/he has at least one hand extended which you can use against him"*, and almost all of his general advice, but think "Using your hands or forearms you can trap the hands against your chest." should be at most a momentary measure while you get in a good strike. If the attacker has grabbed you and you trap their hand(s), there's generally nothing to stop them applying even more pressure, so you don't want to be there for seconds or tens of seconds just holding/trapping their hands, getting hold of one of their fingers, or trying to twist free. The best you can hope for is that one of your arms can momentarily pin both of theirs (if they've grabbed you with both), or at least their dominant hand, leaving your other arm free to strike their face or throat, and your legs free to kick.

For example, if they'd put their hands on both your breasts, and you're right handed, you could bring your left hand up and over their arms so one of their hands is pinned by your left bicep and you have your left hand is on top of their left arm, then hold their arms there while you strike (repeatedly if necessary) over their arms with your right hand and/or kick through underneath the arms. Your left hand is thereby stopping them using their arms to intercept your strikes or hit you back, and also keeping their head at what's generally a good striking distance (if they're much taller, you may need to use your left hand to drag down closer to their elbow, so their arms bend and they come in closer, but it's harder to do effectively). Thrusting your palm to the chin or nose, or even slapping - using the palm halfway up the jawbone to twist the head sharply, are techniques worth considering. If you haven't trained serious and conditioned your fist, then your palm's less likely to get injured during striking. If they're really close, remember you have elbows, but they have very limited reach so they're harder to use than you might expect. Remember you can kick underneath all these tangled arms, and they're relatively unlikely to see it coming, though they may feel you shifting your weight to prepare to kick; just lifting your knee then snapping out a kick to their knee is faster, less "telegraphed" (obvious early warning signs for them) and has better balance and recovery time than trying some kind of football kick or going for the groin, though little in fighting goes according to a script and taking the best opportunities you get is important. Keep a clear head and don't get bogged down mentally in one way of defending or attacking - or even the fight at the expense of considering your environment and escape/call-for-help options.

A frontal grab's not dissimilar to a strangulation situation, where if you're weaker and try to grab their hands or get in under their fingers and make them let go, you may run out of time and air. Similarly, there are "nice" textbook techniques to twist this way or that and escape a grab or strangulation, but if they've pushed you up against anything, dragged you in close to them, put you on your back or hauled you up onto tip-toes, you may not have the leg contact into the ground to power a twist of the hips and torso to make "joint locking" techniques - those that twist a limb or joint and apply pressures in painful ways - work.

So, do as little trapping / joint locking as possible to be able to strike effectively; after striking you could do more, but if you're untrained in those techniques I wouldn't recommend it.

If you think you'll likely be followed and there's nowhere safe to run to, make more strikes count while you have the advantage of surprise and position, but run if and when you can, call for help, pick up some kind of weapon (but beware escalating the level of violence) or whatever seems the best use of the time window your strikes create.

Escaping a rear grab

If you're grabbed from behind, and their arms are under yours - turning and elbowing to the head is worth consideration. You can kick backwards at their knees, or down onto their feet. If they've grabbed around your arms - pressing them to your sides it's harder to escape from - the kicks are still good options, while a "textbook" escape is to drop your body weight while pushing both arms forward (as if you were doing a push-up with your elbows tucked in to your ribs); don't lift your elbows sideways like you're pretending to be a bird flapping its wings - that uses much weaker muscles and has a lot less chance of breaking the hold. Once the grib loosens, again look to run, or failing that strike. A problem with this escape is that it relies on suddenly dropping your body weight helping you slip out under their arms, but if they've already taken most of your body weight by bear hugging you to their chest and lifting you upwards, they're already supporting your weight and you can't drop. But you can kick backwards at their knees / shins, or possibly down onto their feet, and they can't hit you while they're lifting you up in a bear hug.

A final desperate measure that's got nearly as much potential to hurt you as your attacker is a reverse headbutt - if you catch their forehead you may injure yourself worse than them, but if it's your only chance and things look grim, it's worth keeping in mind.

Getting dragged to a car etc.

If they've grabbed you from behind, around/over your arms, then drag you backwards, the "push-up" like arm thrust I mentioned above as a textbook escape from a rear bear-hug should also help you loosen their arms. If they lift you while pinning your arms - whether you're facing them or away - there's little you can do except kick (or possibly bite or headbutt - both desperate measures). If they drag you by the hair, there are ways to grab their hands and joint-lock their arms but they're too elaborate to explain and hard to execute - you'd need proper training to have a hope of using them, so I can only suggest instead of struggling to get away, push in close and strike as best you can until they let go of your hair. Again, a hand used to hold you (even by the hair) is an arm they can't block or attack freely with, but keep in mind it's also a way to control your balance and movement.

Do remember that even with years of martial arts training it's not reliably "safe" or trivial to handle real-world fights - especially against stronger attackers - so don't over-estimate how useful tips like these are. Avoiding danger's always the best bet when possible.


Quite simply, if an attacker grabs your breasts then s/he* has at least one hand extended which you can use against him. Using your hands or forearms you can trap the hands against your chest. What you do from there will depend on your level of training:

  • if you are not trained then normal self defense principals still apply. Make lots of noise, attract a lot of attention. Don't be still, keep moving and make it difficult for your attacker to subdue you. Don't concentrate on kicking the attacker in the groin, instead you should concentrate on hitting anything that looks like a target. If you have an object to hand that you can use to strike the opponent then use it. Hit, gouge and break any part of your opponent that you can reach. If the attacker has grabbed your breasts from behind then you still have their hands and fingers to work on - bend and break the little fingers. Drop your weight and keep moving to make it difficult for them to move you.
  • if you are trained then it's game on! Trapping the attacker's hand(s) and then shifting your weight to a stance or position that unbalances your opponent is the first step, then there is a large number of things you can do (what exactly you do cannot be specified, it depends on positioning).

It is important to remember that what you read in stories is simply that - a story. However random sexual based attacks against women are not uncommon especially in some parts of the world. With these sorts of attacks your attacker wants you to be surprised and subdued, they do not want you to fight back - so the more you fight and be the "victim from hell" the more likely you are to stop the attack.

If you are somewhere like a pub or club and someone does this, make them disengage. But once you've done that you should concentrate on getting away from the situation, seek help from security staff. Don't escalate unnecessarily - once you've made them disengage you are (strictly speaking) no longer being attacked so do not look to continue the interaction unless your continued safety depends on it.

Being attacked in a sexual way is quite traumatic but your state of mind will be critical to how you handle the situation. Don't panic, and be determined to survive - one thing worse than being a victim of an attack like this is being dead. The best way to be prepared is to attend regular self defense classes (don't make the mistake of thinking that a single class protects you for life - it can increase your chances but you are even more prepared if you attend regular classes).

*never make the mistake of thinking that only males attack in this way


By asking the question I assume you are looking to train against this possibility. That is you are willing to go train. A qualified instructor can give women practical self defense techniques especially from grabs. In your example the attacker grabs from behind and grabs your breast. This is close to or equivalent to a rear bear hug. The fingers have to be loosened and attacked. Holding or trapping the opponent is generally for locks and throws. This is ideal for smaller or weaker victims. The instructor will show variations to different holds from various angles and hand positions such as his arms over both of your arms, grabs under both of your arms, one over one under, etc. Fingerlocks are almost a sure thing once you break grips. Throw the attacker and run the opposite direction you throw the attacker. Stokes are not neccessary but may distract the attacker enough. The most crucial aspect is to prevent his grips with both of his arms and hands clasped together which indicates either him picking you up off yiur feet or him taking you down to the ground. You can strike all you want if he picks you up or takes you to the ground he can punish you for the strikes you gave him. Break his grips and keeping you balance are the most important think for someone without experience. Realistically body weight matters most of the time. A smaller man is unlikely to get away with doing such a thing a taller and heavier woman. With that said an experience bad guy expects the strikes aka groin, throat, eyes, etc.

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