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Looks like it's the end of the line, woobie. All the characters with awesome action skills aren't going to come save you. They just get to watch while I brutalize you so as to kick me a few notches up the villain ladder.
What was that? I can't- BLAFGH!
That sound you just heard is what happens when a character who is assumed to be weak and helpless compared to their stronger counterparts in a setting won't give in. Yes, narrative convention assumes that they will fail to successfully resist, but to hell with that. They're going down kicking and screaming (or snarking), and absolutely won't let the villain enjoy the sadism that they expected.
When successful, this usually results in a Crowning Moment of Awesome. When unsuccessful, it can lead to either some talk about the reason why you suck, things getting worse, or tragic results. Spoilers abound.
See also Beware the Nice Ones.
- Ryo Narushima from Shamo is a dark and disturbing example. He begins the series by murdering both of his parents with a knife because he felt their overbearingness would kill him soon. And then proceedes to get much, much worse.
- In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, When Rika figures out that Miyo is the one who murders her, and she promptly kills all of her friends in the process to get her. Miyo offers her an anesthesia so she can't feel any pain when she is to disembowel her, but Rika refuses it so she can remember Miyo's face at the end of her life so she can remember who killed her in the next.
- Hana Yori Dango is kicked off by the Plucky Girl heroine Tsukushi deciding to stand up against the biggest bully in her school, the male Alpha Bitch Tsukasa, when he and his friends target her and then have the whole school harass her. After she kicks him on the face... he ends up falling for her.
- This trope is a vital part of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Anthy Himemiya has been trapped in quite the cycle of abuse for years with her older brother Akio, and has become tremendously angry at the world as a result. To truly save her, Utena must NOT be Anthy's Knight in Shining Armor like she believed out of Selfish Good thoughts, but to show Anthy that only she can break that vicious circle. It eventually works, and the last sequence of the series has her calmly walking out of Ohtori Academy with Chuchu so they can search for the missing Utena together.
- Done as a Take That in Nextwave, when the New Paramounts attack the team and Charlie America goes after the British Elsa Bloodstone. When he tells her to lie back and take it like a good victim, she indignantly points to the Euro symbol on her shirt and says, "Victim? VICTIM?! DO YOU THINK THIS LETTER ON MY CHEST STANDS FOR AMERICA?!"
- Subverted in The Dark Knight. When Rachel responds to the Joker's threats via a Groin Attack, this actually makes things worse- now, instead of being a random damsel, she's an interesting damsel worthy of being involved in plans far more dangerous than establishing Joker's villain cred.
- Street Fighter, M. Bison has Chun Li locked in his private quarters, with her hands tied together. Bison goes at length taunting Chun Li with how he has separated her from her two Bruisers, and how she is now helpless.
- In the Japanese live action version of the manga Hana Yori Dango, the heroine, Makino Tsukushi, delivers a solid punch to the jaw of Domyouji Tsukasa, the spoiled, sadistic BMOC of Eitoku High School and its clique of ultra-rich hot guys, The Flower Four. No one dares to cross the F4 for fear of retaliation, but Tsukushi — who the F4, particularly Domyouji, have been picking on mercilessly for weeks — refuses to play the victim anymore and declares war. This could be considered a Crowning Moment of Awesome, except it happens so early in the story that there is much more awesome to follow!
- In the Korean live action version of the same manga, entitled Boys Over Flowers, Geum Jan Di, the heroine, opts to deliver a spinning kick to Gu Jun Pyo's face instead of a punch. It is equally made of awesome.
- In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne is often beaten and raped by a group called the Sisters. When he fights back, the leader says, "Yes, you fight, I like that!", and It Got Worse. Red says that "I wish I could say that Andy fought the good fight and they left him alone, but life is not a fairy tale". What saves Andy isn't his brawn or openly refusing to be a victim, but rather his knowledge and his ability to work with others. He gains favor with the guards by helping them with taxes and wins the support of other prisoners by getting them beer. The lead guard finds out about the Sisters and beats the hell out of the leader, leaving him permanently crippled. Only then do the Sisters finally leave Andy alone.
- In Tereza Batista, the titular heroine is sold at the age of thirteen to be a sex slave to a captain. Rather than submitting to her fate as a victim, she viciously thrashes, bites, and attacks her subduer for several pages before finally being forced to submit. After the Time Skip — when he catches her in bed with a lover, and the lover cowers realizing what the captain's about to do to him, Tereza immediately takes advantage of the captain's turned back to stab him. This shocks the captain as he lies dying, since his slaves aren't supposed to have the willpower to think they can actually kill him once they've been broken.
- Some of the victims on Criminal Minds do this. Others do not.
- One of the most popular Super Stupor strips is about a superhero's girlfriend who beats the crap out of a villain who tries to stuff her into the fridge, finishing the beating by shoving his hand into a garbage disposal.
- The Cadmus Arc in Justice League Unlimited centers around The Flash — specifically, the fact that his death at Luthor's hands is what caused the Justice Lords to go over the edge in their Alternate Universe. When Luthor attempts to reenact this event in the second season finale, Flash takes matters into his own hands, defeating Luthor by going so fast the sheer energy discharge of collision is enough to destroy Luthor/Brainiac's Nigh Invulnerable armor piece by piece.