“A complete stranger just came up to my friends and me as we walked and said, ‘Yo, what are you doing?’
He was a man, of course.
We didn’t want to talk to him, so we said so.
He responded pretty aggressively. ‘Chill, I just wanted to see where you were going.’
Sara responded, ‘No. We are busy and don’t want to talk to you.’
He persisted. ‘You don’t look effing busy.’
So, we walked away. And because men apparently can’t accept being told ‘No, I don’t want to talk to you’ without a gentle excuse, he yelled and called Sara a fat ass.
In the middle of an upscale neighborhood in Chicago, on a busy sidewalk, it crossed my mind that this man might be carrying a gun. I was scared.
And God, I am sick of being scared of men.
This is the culture that women live with EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Teach your boys that women don’t owe them attention. We don’t owe them our time. And if we don’t want to talk to a stranger, we sure as hell don’t owe them a polite reason.
Teach your girls that it is OKAY to say ‘No’ and ‘Go away’ and ‘Leave us alone’. Teach your girls that they owe NOBODY their time.
Teach them it’s not necessary to be nice.
My badass friend told a man NO today, and he yelled at her. I was scared, because I’m so accustomed to being gentle and nice.
Nice wasn’t going to make us safe. And nice wasn’t going to get him to leave.
It’s a simple word.
PARENTS: Teach your children to say NO. Teach them to understand and respect it. It’s too late for us, unfortunately.
But the next generation is counting on you.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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