The role of the helpless innocent victim is hard to combine with taking drastic action yourself. But it can be the perfect role if your goal is to let others take action: your plight may give them the adrenaline rush or whatever they need to take action and strike down your foes.
Thus, you can use your (real or more-or-less-pretended) victimhood to your own advantage, and to the advantage of the people who you rally to your aid.
Compare and contrast Wounded Gazelle Gambit: the similarity is that in both tropes, a person uses the role of victimhood to his or her own advantage. The difference is that in the gambit they're manipulating someone to take their side (which may or may not be for the benefit of the manipulated — usually not), while in this trope they're empowering a person or group for their mutual benefit. Also, the gambit always uses a false victimhood, while the warcry does not have to contain any deceit. On the contrary, a real plight is a better weapon than a pretended one. However, the character might blur the line between self-sacrifice and victimhood, putting themselves in harm's way so their allies can get the chance to rescue them or avenge them. If such a step is taken for nothing, it might make them a Martyr Without a Cause.
The trope is gender-neutral in itself but is almost Always Female for various reasons. Since Men Are the Expendable Gender, only a physically challenged man or a very young Child Soldier could use it effectively. Otherwise, because women are on average less physically powerful than men in a direct battle, the effect is way more potent if a woman does it to motivate the troops she may or may not be a part of. The point being, the individual invoking this trope must be weaker than his comrades and not in charge, else it doesn't work.
Compare Leeroy Jenkins.
- In the first story arc of Full Metal Panic!, Kaname - realizing that the Lambda Driver in Sousuke's new Humongous Mecha works based on emotion - helps him get it to work by telling him that if he loses the battle, the villain will capture, rape, and torture her. Imagining it makes him angry and determined enough to activate the Lamdba Driver and win the fight.
- In the beginning of the World War III arc of A Certain Magical Index, Second Princess Carissa, who was leading British forces against the magicians of France, engaged in this, thinking the Knights of England weren't giving their all.
Carissa: Oh, no. At this rate, those French bastards are going to capture me and then gang rape me to death.
- Needless to say, the tactic worked. However her comrade, the Knight Leader, responds to this act by trying to contact Carissa's mother for the authority to spank Carissa.
- Backfires in Digimon Adventure. Learning that Greymon's digievolution is powered by his courage, an impatient Tai attempts to force it by jumping in front of an enemy attack. Since this is less "courageous" and more Too Dumb to Live, the digievolution is distorted and Greymon becomes the evil SkullGreymon.
- In an early chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Anzu deliberately endangers herself in order to lure Yugi's alter ego who she has a crush on into coming out.
- The death of Agent Coulson at Loki's hand in The Avengers (2012) rallies the heroes to stop their in-fighting and work as a team to avenge him. After Nick Fury shows them a blood-spattered Tragic Keepsake and the heroes rush off to save the day, another agent points out how Fury invoked this trope with some Fridge Logic about how the departed comrade never kept that keepsake on his person so Fury must have taken it from his locker and put the blood on there intentionally.
- In Star Wars, Palpatine blasts himself into permanent Nightmare Face mode with Dark Side lightning while killing Mace Windu, then invokes this trope while announcing himself the first Galactic Emperor. His speech compares his own wounds to the damage caused by the Separatist Movement, which he describes as a Jedi plot against the Republic despite having engineered that too.
Palpatine: The attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger!
- In The Forever War the soldiers were given hypnotic conditioning where they were told and given (false) images of the aliens murdering and raping humans. They knew this was false but it enraged them anyway. A person's subconscious is a dangerous thing to play with.
- In Dante's Divine Comedy, Helen of Troy in hell can be interpreted as having been this trope in life, rather than the passive object of desire she was in The Iliad. Dante gives her the full blame for the Trojan War, as if she got herself kidnapped by the Trojan prince on purpose in order to give her own nation an excuse to invade Troy.
- In Attila, a royal Roman lady gets imprisoned in a monastery. Wanting to flee this fate, she sends a letter to Attila the Hun, who gladly acts like he's under The Dulcinea Effect and invades the Roman empire for her sake. Attila and the lady are both portrayed as down-to-earth politicians who know exactly what they are doing. She needs freedom, he needs an excuse to invade the empire, and they could both use the good PR of an epic romantic tale for the masses to admire.
- Star Trek: Voyager: If Tuvok ever expresses vulnerability, (particularly if he is apparently about to die) Captain Janeway will reliably go berserk; or as close as she can with a 90s PG rating.
- Hel has the song Mörker, an inspirational sermon about how the protagonist lacks the strength, goodness, bravery, honesty, selflessness, and overall mental health she would need to save the world alone. So we all have to unite and to it together instead. Would make a good page quote if the song was in English.
- Warhammer 40,000's backstory has this happen in the finale of the Battle of Terra. The Emperor is unwilling to hurt Horus because he's his favorite son, and still believes that he can be redeemed from what he's done. Horus rips off one of his arms and severely injures him, after already killing one of his "brothers", the primarch Sanguinius. One Imperium soldier (an ordinary human, temporarily retconned as one of the Emperor's bodyguards) tries to save the Emperor by attacking Horus, only to be obliterated with a glance. The Emperor takes this to mean that Horus is too far gone and destroys Horus' body, mind, and soul.
- In Exiern, Mira saves her boyfriend Ctyx by letting him save her. A big scary guard is threatening to kill him, but his fear does not trigger his Superpowered Evil Side. And thus she draws the guard's attention to herself, sobbing for mercy and everything - turning Ctyx's fear into the rage he need to activate his powers.
- In El Goonish Shive, Melissa takes the "warcry" part quite literally; when encountering a monster, she pulls a hysterical Screaming Woman act — to alert her super-powered boyfriend to come and handle the monster, which she knows he's capable of.
- In an episode of Men in Black: The Series, J is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine and L enters his mind to bring him back to reality. He resists her attempts to snap him out of it, so she lets herself get mortally wounded, telling him that unless he wakes up, she will die in reality as Your Mind Makes It Real.
- The Incredible Hulk (1996): A non-battle example in "Innocent Blood". Hulk was trapped under rubble, turning back into Bruce Banner, and affected by a faulty tranquilizer, which would kill him if he returned to human form before it wore off. To make him turn into the Hulk and save himself, Rick Jones pretended to be hurt and called for help.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "Michaelangelo Meets Bugman Again", the Villain of the Week, the Swatter, an obvious ripoff of the Shredder, is causing destruction all over the city with his remote-controlled termites, and Michaelangelo tries to get Brick Bradley angry at the idea of April being in danger, which almost works, only for her to show up just in time before he can transform into Bugman, but then he gets angry anyway after she insults him for his white loincloth that is supposed to represent the ability to have inner peace, and then he transforms into Bugman.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender plays with this trope. acknowledging that he's already a hundred years late when it comes to his role as the link between worlds, Aang agrees to work with an Earth Nation general in order to trigger the avatar state at will and face the firelord prematurely. Nothing works until said general made it seem as though he was burying Katara alive at which point Aang enters the state nigh instantly but we ultimately learn that if Aang dies while in the Avatar State the Avatar won't exist anymore.
- Many of the more fanciful descriptions of Joan of Arc imply that this trope was part of her battle strategy, painting a giant target on herself by being the standard bearer, making her troops fight all the harder to see the maiden of prophecy live to see the next sunrise.
- The British Celtic queen Boudica used her abuse at the hands of the occupying Romans (she was flogged, her daughters raped) to rally the Iceni in a revolt.
- Isabella of France, long-suffering and sidelined by her (allegedly-homosexual) king Edward II and his favorites (Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser the Younger, in succession), found a pretext during war with her native France to serve as ambassador. While there, she publicly pronounced that, as Edward has been unfaithful to her, she would treat herself a widow and rallied both French and English troops to her cause in eventually overthrowing him. There's also enough reason to assume this was part of what brought her commander (and eventual lover) Sir Roger Mortimer to her side.