Mittwoch, 13. Juli 2011

A little story about "No"

In the recent debate also known as "Elevatorgate", a lot of the comments stated that "He propositioned, she said no, nothing happened, what's the deal".
The deal is, among a million other things, the problem of saying "no" without fear.
Whenever some guy makes the joke that "women really don't mean no, we all know that", my stomach cringes. It carries a threat. The threat that if you say no, the man will just ignore it because he knows what you want so much better than you yourself.
Saying no without fear isn't always easy.
About 2 years ago, just when I wanted to take a much needed nap (the lack of sleep certainly added to my level of annoyance), my phone rang. A man was asking for a woman called XY. I told him that he'd dialed the wrong number, he apologized and we both hung up.
I thought it would be the end of it, but alas, it wasn't.
2 minutes later he called again. Really no XY living there? We checked the phone number to see whether he got the right one and for sure, he had my phone number.
Short of it: the guy was an idiot. He called 3 more times even though he knew this wasn't her phone number. They'd met in a sauna, chatted. He asked her her phone number and she made one up. Unfortunately, it was mine.
That afternoon, I was really mad at both of them.
The more time passed, the more my perspective on the whole issue changed. I'm still annoyed at her, because even though unknowingly, she threw me underneath the bus by giving my number to the guy who now had my name, number and therefore my adress.
But I also feel for her, because she obviously was made very uncomfortable by this guy and didn't dare to tell him no when he asked for her number.
At that moment she made the decission that getting away from him safely had top priority. She made the decission that just saying no was not safe.
So, if you're response is "she said no, nothing happened", go back two steps, go back to the moment in which my unknown woman in the sauna felt unsafe to say no.
Wanting to say no should not make you think about whether it was safe to do so. The fact that a man will accept it without making a fuzz doesn't take away doesn't take away the prior moment when she had to worry about this.

Update for personal referrence: Today, Jan 20th 2012, at about 10 to 3, the same guy called me again, trying the exact same thing again. Somebody looks creepy right now.

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