Women Sometimes Have to Make Excuses to Survive

Gillian Sisley

Privileged men are lucky enough to not know what it’s like to live in this reality.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Women hear a lot of misogynistic garbage in their lives. A frequent commentary comes from entitled men making ridiculous jabs at women on how women should behave to avoid being stalked, attacked, or sexually assaulted.

I myself have received this fair share of messaging, and after hearing those words, I never forgot them.

Like many women, I have been stalked before by a customer at my place of work. I have survived sexual assault. A once, when sharing my story, I received this comment from an entitled man:

“There wasn’t a single time you said “no” explicitly. You are engaging in long conversations leading to guy asking your number, to which you could have said straight “no” but still made some shitty excuses.
Respect will be given to your consent when you learn to say “no” explicitly. Nothing to do with women in general.
Guy could have been sitting there just to use your wifi.”

If you're shocked, you shouldn't be. Women receive comments like this regularly, and it's just expected that we brush it off and move on with our day. Instead, why don't we expect men to treat women with dignity and respect, rather than lecturing them on topics they know nothing about personally?

“There wasn’t a single time you said “no” explicitly”.

The person who said the above comment to me didn't even know me. We were virutally strangers, and yet he lectured me as if he was present for the few months that a customer was coming around and eventually stalking me.

Let's just put that 'no' argument to bed right away — I said “no” plenty of times.

But, like many before me, regardless of my use of 'no', my consent was not respected.

Additionally, there’s more than just one way to say, “no”.

“I’m not interested.”
“I don’t give my number out.”
“I have to get back to work.”

When the explicit “no” doesn’t seem to register, one must turn to alternative communicative measures to get the hint across.

Some people act as if “no” is this magical word that automatically results in receiving respect.

But that is simply not how our world works.

You can’t honestly tell a survivor of violence or abuse that every single person who’s ever been raped or stalked experienced these things simply because they didn’t say the specific word, “no”.

“You could have said straight “no” but still made some fake excuses.”

I especially love the line “but you still made some fake excuses”.

What a positively privileged male statement to make.

Obviously, anyone who says this has no clue what it’s like to live as a woman, or to feel threatened by someone. Because if they did, they would know that when a person is making excused to get away, they're already in a lose-lose situation.

Women have been attacked for curtly and firmly saying “no” to a man who can’t take rejection.

Women have been raped for beating around the bush too much as well, because by the time the man makes the move, she’s already overpowered and he doesn’t care about what she wants — or doesn’t want.

Try talking to some women in your life, and ask them what are some of the “fake excuses” they’ve used to get a guy to back off.

Odds are, you’ll hear a lot of “I tell them I have a boyfriend”, because that’s the safest statement that is most likely to remove us from the situation without being assaulted, sexually or otherwise.

Why? Because there are too many entitled men out there who don’t respect a woman’s right to say “no” and listen to it. These men only respect the threat of another male.

You, as a man, may see “fake excuses” — we women see the best option to use to ensure our survival.

“Respect will be given to your consent when you learn to say “no” explicitly.”

I have to “respectfully” call complete and utter bull on this statement.

If you believe this, you live in a dream world — a world we survivors are fighting tooth and nail to achieve.

A day when our consent is actually heard and respected, and no one is trying to tell us what we can and can’t do with our own bodies.

That day has yet to come, sir. Open your eyes.

If you think the way to ensure a person's consent will is by using an 'explicity no', then what about the following points?

Why is it that when I’ve said at a club or bar, “no”, I’ve still been grabbed and ground against, even as I try to push the guy off?
Why is it that when in the past I‘ve told first dates “no” to a second date, they continue to blow up my phone with, “Just give me another chance,” or “Screw you, you’re ugly anyway.”
Why is it that when I said “no, no, no” to my ex dozens of times when he had me pinned to a bed, he still sexually assaulted me?

Final word.

I, like many women, have heard a lot of ridiculous, stupid comments about my own experiences with sexual assault and stalking ever since I started talking about it.

In the cases when I hear their lecturing, and comments like the one I quoted about, I want to ask them: Have you ever met an actual woman before? Have you ever carried on a conversation with one?

Or have you just been going around for years, pretending you’re not hearing women when they say “no”?

Because men who carry the sort of entitled attitude dissected in this article give the impression of not giving much of a care about another person's consent or valid experiences either way. And that's scary.

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