Rejecting men has deadly consequences, so it’s really no wonder we’re terrified of them
Saying no might not be an option
If you’re a woman, you’ve been there.
He’s standing too close to you while you’re checking out at the corner store, as you wait for the train, as you’re ordering a drink at the bar, as you’re just trying to get home. You probably feel him before you see him, his presence hanging over your personal space like a thick, wet blanket. And then he launches into his spiel.
Damn, you’re beautiful.
Do you have a boyfriend?
What, your boyfriend doesn’t let you have friends?
Can I get to know you?
Will you have my babies?
I’m talking to you, stuck up bitch.
Maybe he doesn’t even say anything — he just grabs. It’s usually empty threats, except for when it’s not.
This past weekend, a New York City woman was attacked for rebuffing a man’s advances. 22-year-old Raegen Medgie was shoved onto the subway tracks after ordering a man who groped her genitals to get away. She suffered a broken wrist and deep bruising, and she was luckier than countless women over the past few years.
In Chicago last year, a woman was stabbed to death on the Red Line after saying she didn’t want to have her boyfriend’s children.
Two years ago, a high school junior was stabbed to death at school for declining a classmate’s invitation to prom. He’ll be eligible for parole in just 13 years.
Just a few months ago, a woman was murdered by her husband because she didn’t want to have sex with him. And that comes on the tail of a Brooklyn student was shot point-blank in the face by a man after she asked him to stop grinding on her.
These aren’t isolated incidents — just a quick Google search yields dozens in not hundreds of attacks. And those are just the ones that were reported, and those that escalated to violence. Search engines can’t bring to light the scores of women who can’t try to bring their attacker to justice without facing further abuse, or those who had to suffer verbal assault and intimidation before managing to get away.
WhenWomenRefuse is a Tumblr blog dedicated to chronicling physical and verbal abuse inflicted by rejected men. The blog is a mix of first-person accounts submitted to the blog and an aggregation of news stories. The posts are graphic, scary, hard-to-read and necessary for understanding how prevalent the problem is.
WhenWomenRefuse has neither of Tumblr’s two messaging features enabled so it’s impossible to get in touch with its creator(s), but the site’s About page name-checks the UCSB shooting and subsequent #YesAllWomen hashtag as the inspiration behind the blog.
“But the reality for many is that women denying sexual advances to both men they know and don’t know is often fraught with violent results.”
Though men of both the Internet and IRL are often quick to dismiss incidents of violence with #NotAllMen and cries of, “I would never do that,” it ignores what seems like a fairly obvious rebuttal: maybe so, but we don’t know that. All we as women see are news reels peppered by women propositioned, unknowing that to their attacker, they were already choiceless.
Writing this, it’s hard to think of a solution. Clearly, we can’t just acquiesce to the sexual and romantic advances of men we don’t like out of a Schrödinger’s Rapist mentality. But at the same time, a rebuff can open us up to abuse, violence, and even death. Really, it’s only men who can change the narrative by learning and teaching their children to abandon a sense of entitlement and toxic masculinity.
It’s sad and upsetting that once again, we’re rendered helpless to something that affects us so directly. It didn’t start with us, and it can’t end with us. But really, this isn’t so different from everything else with our society. Again, we’re regulated to cleaning up the mess.
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