There was a small article in a regional paper today that might have passed unnoticed, but for the way it was phrased: "Spurned dance sparks assault of man, woman." Apparently a man repeatedly approached a table of strangers, "trying to berate a woman into dancing with him." (Because berating someone to dance with you... works? What the hell, dude?) After she repeatedly declined, and her brother stepped in to try to help, the man physically assaulted them.
"Spurned dance." Look at that phrase.
Why is it not "repeated harassment escalates to assault"? Why is the focus on the woman "spurning" the man, rather than on his egregious behavior?
This, People, is why women are so often conciliatory -- because they fear escalation. This woman most likely thought she was safe with a family member, yet she received escalation anyway.
The truth of the matter: women never feel safe. There are always men (yes, we know, Not All Men) who feel entitled to our attention, who feel they can dictate our behavior, who think badgering someone into compliance is an appropriate way to interact with another human being. Men who trample our wishes and our desires and our sense of security. Men who manipulate and make us uncomfortable and wear down our defenses until we acquiesce, because we are more afraid of what will happen if we do not agree than if we do agree. And even though Not All Men, we do not know what type of man any given stranger is. We err on the side of caution. Escalation can happen anywhere, at any time -- even when out with a sibling to enjoy some music at a local watering hole.
This is unacceptable. And we are done.
Stand strong, sisters. The time to be conciliatory has come to an end.
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