Here's a brief anecdote showing how one woman was able transform a situation, where a man was about to assault or rape her. She responded in a creative way that lead them both to see each others' humanity -- navigating them both to safety. As part of her ingenuity he ended up spending the night in her house, in another room.
Many believe it's only a true NVC request when we can ask for what we need without urgency or insistence. But what if we're the target of oppression and hate in a world with systemic inequality? Is it still nonviolence to abdicate power by allowing the person enacting harm to be the one to decide whether harm continues? The intensity of the need, degree of harm, and how chronically unmet the need is, are factors to guide us for when to apply force and demand within NVC. We can be attached to outcome, without being attached to strategy.
We can ask for what we want but if we repeatedly don’t get it from one source, it's our responsibility to find a new way to get it. We don’t honor our relationships when we insist that people who are unavailable or unwilling to support us meet our needs. Read on for related a parable about a woman persistently asking to get milk from a hardware store.