How to Defend Yourself If You're Attacked Like Gigi Hadid or Kim Kardashian

Vitalii Sediuk was labeled a "prankster" but assault is serious—here's how to fight off assailants.

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Complex Original

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Some like to refer to Vitalii Sediuk as a “prankster” or rogue “fan" but frankly, he is the worst. Yesterday in Paris, he attempted to literally kiss Kim Kardashian’s ass before her security grabbed him. In the past, he’s buried his face in Leonardo DiCaprio’s junk by kneeling in front of the actor for a hug. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, he crawled under America Ferrera’s dress while she posed for photographers. In 2012, he was backhanded by Will Smith after he grabbed the actor's face in an attempt to kiss him. Most intrusively, he grabbed Gigi Hadid from behind last week, lifting her off her feet before she elbowed him in the jaw.

The legal definition of assault is intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact. No intent to cause physical injury needs to exist, and no physical injury needs to result.

Sediuk is a worthless troll hiding behind his "message to the fashion world" (which, spoiler alert: is still a transparent and misogynistic imposition of beauty standards) but beyond that, he is a routine offender of assault, regularly putting his hands on famous strangers with malicious intent. Despite his numerous pranks attacks, he's only been charged with assault and battery once after diving across a barrier at Brad Pitt, grabbing the actor's jacket and breaking Pitt's glasses in the scuffle. He was convicted and punished with 20 days of community service and one year of psychological counseling. That was in summer 2014—it's safe to say his punishment hasn't caused any reform.


Complex spoke to a Connecticut-based police officer who wished to remain anonymous about how Sediuk has been filmed assaulting multiple celebrities without punishment. "In most situations, there has to be a complaint for an investigation and arrest," the officer says. Following Sediuk's attack on Kim Kardashian, she filed a complaint with French authorities. 

In a statement after their scuffle, Pitt released a statement saying he hit Sediuk in the back of the head "not too hard" and Smith gave Sediuk a smack to fight him off his face. But last week in Milan, we saw Sediuk face the consequences of assaulting Hadid. The model caught Sediuk in the jaw with her elbow before she grabbed a security guard and went after the retreating Sediuk. 


Some outlets said Hadid “aggressively lashed out at a fan” while others attacked the model's behavior. She responded in a series of tweets, defending her right to protect herself from strangers. She later discussed the encounter in an interview with Lena Dunham, highlighting the importance of self-defense, especially since most women aren't surrounded by paparazzi and security guards all the time. 

I agree with Hadid. Women should fight back, especially when they feel someone has physically threatened them. But not everyone is a former athlete with personal trainers like Hadid. Boxing instructor and New York-based personal trainer Owen McDougald says should you find yourself being attacked, “You want to assume everyone is stronger than you.” You are not Olivia Benson nor are you Rhonda Rousey. Should an attacker get ahold of you, McDougald recommends doing only enough damage to break free and run screaming for help, pointing out “You would have to train daily to fight like Rousey and even those that fight for a living can get knocked out.”

keep sensitive spots in mind like, “balls, eyes, throat, shins, and knees.”

He says that since most attacks will catch you off guard, keep sensitive spots in mind like, “balls, eyes, throat, shins, and knees.” Hadid handed Sediuk a quick elbow to the jaw once she freed one arm, but McDougald also recommends kicking your heels back into an attacker’s shins. Should you get grabbed from the front, he says drive your knee directly into an attacker's balls and make tracks. If someone pins you against a wall by your neck making it difficult to knee them, drive both hands between their arms and dig your thumbs into their eyes.

Our anonymous police officer says once you are safe, call the cops. Should you want to pursue charges, some important things to try to remember and offer a dispatcher include "height, weight, clothing, scars, tattoos, and their direction of travel.”

In researching self-defense methods and awareness, a lot of advice focuses on how to avoid becoming a victim. Some of these programs offer advice like don't make eye contact, cover up, and don't draw any attention to yourself in public—basically don't even breathe near men. But as illustrated by Hadid's attack—the conservatively dressed model was walking arm-in-arm with her sister in broad daylight and still violated—this advice isn't always (or even most of the time) appropriate. Look into programs offered by anti-violence and women's organizations and make sure they address all kinds of attackers—strangers, acquaintances, armed, unarmed—so that you can protect yourself in every scenario. 

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