I very unscientifically estimate that around 99% of personal assault should be met with the goal of escape. Distance creation is directly related to escape. What can it give you?
- The ability to completely avoid a fight
- Time to survive, yell or people to see you
- Time to think
- Time to find a weapon
Escape and distance creation doesn't necessarily mean getting out of a hold. It doesn't mean pushing away even. It can be as simple as stepping backwards or giving a verbal warning.
Typically, modern martial arts teach us to restrain, attack, defend and escape all at equal levels of importance.
Rare are the cases for the average person in which you would need to do something other than escape or create distance. Generally, if nothing else is at risk other thank your own life and safety, you should not consider doing anything but escaping.
Some will argue that modern martial arts teach escape "too". The real question is not whether or not they teach it, but why, since it is the 95-99% case, it is not trained 95-99% of the time.