I believe it is important to think of things before the moment of truth.
When I first entered the magickal arena, I was taught that magickal attacks are the fears of the ego. If you think you've been attacked more than a handful of times over the course of a career, you have some sort of personal problem. You may just be delusional. This is what I believed.
Of course, this ignored some famous Golden Dawn history or at the very least minimized it. Then again, what else are you going to tell a neophyte? Yeah, it happens all the time and you are defenseless?
Then I met Jason Miller. He talked of Hoodoo and Voodoo. He talked of malevolent spirits that can be offended. Heck, neutral spirits can do a lot of damage if you offend them. In short, he taught, humans can launch magickal attacks but that is not the only form. I am not going to go into all the subtleties. I suggest reading Miller's, Protection and Reversal Magick, if your curious about forms and causes of attacks or attack like conditions.
Most magickal people that I know that talk about magickal attack discuss defenses and reversals. Naturally, defending oneself is a basic right of life be you a magician or a mouse. A pacifist may simple deflect the thrust of an attack. A warrior may reverse it upon his attacker and proceed to launch a systematic series of attacks at the perpetrator as in enforcing his on three or ten-fold law. I am a firm believer that both responses are within the rights of the attacked.
Normally, the conversation ends there.
It doesn't end there for me. More is hinted at by Jason's teachings of making offerings. My inference from that is that can soften or resolve the volatile situation. So, why not defend oneself and then do additional work to resolve the issue? This turns the attacker from enemy to someone deserving of empathy, sympathy, understanding or caring. From a point of enlightened self-interest, reaching out to heal someone troubled enough to attack will prevent future threatening situations coming from that quarter. From a spiritual point of view, we just may be able to heal another part of the world. Chances are, if you don't kill or do a healing, the attacker will go after someone else. Maybe, many other people can be spared such an attack. I’m not much for killing.
The problem with making that known is that the truly disturbed will just attack to get some healing benefit. Well, if you’re that whacked, maybe healing is just what you need. Then again, I believe in my own version of one-upmanship a certain percentage of the time as well.