Trigger warning: This post contains violence.
Some women choose not to play Russian Roulette with their lives, giving a guy whatever he asks for, whether it’s their name or phone number precisely what he wants. Other women have a fake name and number memorized for moments like these—They’re all about fooling him into thinking that he’s gotten his way while protecting themselves and their boundaries. Then there are women like me who don’t give a damn. I’m saying ‘no,’ ‘I’m not interested,’ ‘no thank you,’ and meaning it.
I refuse to be bullied into sharing my personal information, time, body, space and energy. I know the cost of this is high from experience, but I still choose to say what I mean and mean what I say. We women shouldn’t have to indulge grown men in no shape or form—especially if they’re looking for someone to tiptoe around their fragile egos. I believe a trip to their mother’s house or therapy should do the trick.
Women are playing a dangerous game whenever they tell a man no. Take 27-year-old Mary Spears. In 2014, she was gunned down inside a hall in Detroit for rejecting a man’s advances. Mary was shot in the head by a 38-year-old man because she declined to give him her phone number—a woman’s worst nightmare. Also, in Detroit, in 2018, a 22-year-old woman was shot in the shoulder after rejecting a 40-year-old man’s advances. Thank God she survived. Then there’s 19-year-old Ruth George, sexually assaulted and strangled after ignoring 26-year-old Donald Thurman’s catcalls. He was asked why he did it, and he said, “thought she was pretty.”
I, too, have my own stories. I’ve had a gun drawn on me for opting out of giving a guy my phone number. If it weren’t for his friend grabbing the weapon, he would’ve shot me. Another time, a guy tried to run me over with his car. He clipped me too. He blocked me from crossing the street because he was trying to talk to me. I told him that I had a boyfriend, and he said that he didn’t care. I said that I cared and wished him a good day. Well, Mr. Man did not like that. As I walked in front of his car, he hit the gas and caught me right in the thigh.
Wait, I have more. This time, I sought directions to an apartment building in an area I wasn’t familiar with. I asked a train conductor, and she was happily helping me when a man walked up and asked me if I needed help. I told him I did, and I was getting it from the conductor. That pissed him off. Next thing I knew, I was every derogatory name he could think of. Last and most recent one—I’m on my way home from work when a guy walked up and popped me in the arm with a beer can. I spun around, and he offered it to me. I declined his offer, he kept pressuring me to take the beer, but I stood my ground and continued to say no thank you. Well, that upset him, and he too began calling me everything but the child of God.
Why? Why do men struggle so severely with rejection, and how can we help them? Does it have anything to do with African-Americans’ traditional authoritarian parenting style? Or how Black boys are groomed to suppress their feelings because showing them is considered feminine? What do parents think happens to those buried emotions? Where do parents think they go? Because they sure in the hell don’t die, no, they come alive in relationships, friendships and places of employment.
Maybe that isn’t it. Perhaps it’s because these men today weren’t raised by emotionally-developed men who could teach them that hearing the word no is not the end of the world. Accountability and therapy are the two things that come to mind for me. If the word ‘no’ bruises a man’s ego so badly that he wants to put himself in the position to do twenty-five to life in prison, then we as women will never be safe. Until these physically grown men with the emotional stability of a toddler get the help they need—and not from us girlfriends, sisters, wives, no, let the professionals clean up the mess these men’s parents made. Let’s sit this one out, ladies.
Obsession | is a romance and erotica author, blogger, photographer and artist from Chicago, IL.
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