Why do captors put a rag in victims mouth?

I see this in a lot of movies. I don’t understand it. I would think these victims would be able to spit the rag out. Is there some way where you would not be able to spit a captors rag out? Or is this a temporary thing, to keep a victim quiet.

If it’s a lot of fabric, and it’s jammed in pretty well, it will take a while to spit out-- you have to work up some saliva and get it damp, and chew it into something with some mass. While the victim is doing that, she (it’s usually a she) won’t be screaming. It buys some time. I suppose the kidnapper could jam it to far, and make her puke, which is a problem, and so is her not being able to breathe if her nose is congested. When you see it in the movies, I think it’s just a way of handwaving “Why isn’t she screaming her head off?” How often it happens in the real world, I couldn’t tell you.

I never got the ‘putting things in people’s mouths to keep them quiet’. I can still scream and make noise with a thing stuffed in my mouth – maybe not quite as loudly, but still loud.

No one can understand what you’re saying then. They may hear a “mm mm mm!” but not “call the police, my ex-boyfriend John Smith is kidnapping me!”

It’s probably more difficult then it would appear. I doubt you’d be able to work up enough lung power to blow a rag out of your mouth. So you’d have to push it out with your tongue. And if the rag is put on top of your tongue, that’s going to be difficult. Your tongue would be working from a very poor angle.

There’s also the risk of moving the rag in the wrong direction. When you’re trying to move it around awkwardly with your tongue, you’re taking the risk that you might accidentally move it further into your mouth rather than out. If that happens, you could easily end up choking.

Overall, I’d say it’s easier to work on the ropes that are tying your hands and then pulling the rag out of your mouth.