Though they shouldn’t be, unsolicited and pushy advances are a part of everyday life for women. So much so that we learn to tailor our behaviors so that we don’t put ourselves in dangerous situations; We learn to reject men in a way that won’t bruise their egos because we fear violence above all else.
Even celebrities are not immune from this male violence. The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil recently shared her experience with rejecting a man who took it…poorly. After tweeting about the uncomfortable experience, women from around the world began sharing their own stories about what men do when they feel rejection.
Jamil recalled how she was shopping with a friend when a man approached her. When she told him that she had a boyfriend, the situation escalated into one of harassment.
Was out at the shops with my friend. Man ogles me. Man then approaches me to give me his number. I explain I have a boyfriend but thank him for the offer. Man then threatens my career, saying I better remember that I rejected him. And then Shouts at me that I’m low class… ??♀️
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) March 24, 2019
When a fan voiced their anger and disgust that the man had escalated his predatory behavior even though Jamil tried to “let him down easy” by saying she had a partner, Jamil followed it up with an even more disturbing tale.
“I once said no thank you to a man when I was 19 and didn’t have an excuse,” she wrote, “and he punched me in the face. After that whether or not I have a boyfriend, I say I do.”
Jamil’s tweets prompted thousands of women to share similar experiences with pushy and often violent men.
Some women explained how they have certain protocols in place to deal with unwanted male attention.
I have a standing policy with platonic male friends that if I’m feeling uncomfortable I’ll hold their hand to make it look like I’m not alone. It’s ridiculous.
— Christina (@christinadunnn) March 25, 2019
While others questioned the logic of insulting women, or why men need to be told there is another man in the picture for them to (sometimes) accept rejection.
After reading the replies, Jamil penned a subsequent tweet encouraging parents to “teach children about rejection, so that we can change the way we see rejection as a society.”
“We need to de stigmatize it, so that it doesn’t feel like the ground is swallowing you up when someone says no, however nicely. This would lessen their need to lash out,” she wrote.
She also voiced her sadness and remorse for the women who dared “to govern” their own bodies.
And penned one final reminder to men who need to be told time and time again: “‘No’ is not an amber light.”
Twitter user Sally McSurly said it best: “The way I’ve tried to explain it to male friends is that as a woman, my life is a constant threat assessment,” she wrote.