Sometimes, before I hang out with a guy, I tell him, "If you ever touch me without my consent, I will kill you."
It is a happy talent to know how to play...
But in order to play safely (and without having your time usurped by people you don't like) in this world, especially as a woman, you need to be good at assertiveness and boundary-setting. That is something I'm good at — and it's the reason I've able to been spend literally years abroad as a solo, female traveler.
Lately, it's also the reason I've been able to spend the last 13 months on the road as a solo, female RVer.
Without assertiveness, I would have to wait for others to have as much time off work as I do. (No one does, because most people don't intentionally, strategically design their lives around having 3-4 months of vacation per year.) Heck, without assertiveness, I couldn't even go for a walk in a local park, ride the subway, or attend an open mic without a Protector protecting me.
I couldn't live that way.
I've got this acquaintance, Andan*, who is SOOOOO woke, he's actually kind of sexist and anti-woman (#horseshoetheory). HE claims the only reason I'm able to travel is because of a secret white supremacy conspiracy to keep me, a white woman, safe. As a man, he thinks it's his duty to erase me from all of my own experiences, self-improvement, and accomplishments. He thinks it's important for me to believe that my accomplishments aren't mine — my accomplishments actually belong to white men.
Sorry, Andan. You are backwards and wrong.
I am safe because I learned how to be assertive. I am safe because I have learned how to defend myself. I am safe because I will do whatever it takes to keep myself safe.
And while Facebook has blocked or punished many women for talking about defending themselves against male violence (including me — I said if someone tried to rape me, I would kill him in self-defense, and I was banned for 24 hours), I think that it's incredibly important for women to talk about assertiveness and defending themselves against male violence.
After all, if you can't talk about it, how do you expect to actually do it?
In the interest of practicing what I preach, I occasionally tell a man before we hang out alone for the first time, "Just so you know, if you ever touch me without my consent, I will kill you."
I mentioned this on Quora recently, and all the dickless little incels and insecure little morons came out en masse to say I was crazy or rude or offensive for saying this.
But guess what? In real life, I rarely make plans with dickless little incels and insecure little morons. So in real life, saying, "If you try to rape me, I will kill you," has LITERALLY NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE.
When you're talking to an intelligent, secure man whose intention is not to rape you, he's not going to get his panties in a bunch because you said you would defend yourself against male violence.
His intention wasn't to rape you, so he doesn't take it as a threat — just a statement of fact.
If he thinks you have a right to bodily autonomy, he's not going to be upset that you express your right to bodily autonomy.
For this reason, I think telling men you will kill them if they ever touch you without your consent is excellent quality control.
It's a really good way to know, before you've wasted any of your time with this guy, if he is a moron, rapist, or incel who is so cripplingly afraid of rejection that you saying you would defend yourself against unwanted sexual advances feels like a personal attack.
It's a really good way to know, before he's grabbed you by the back of the head and forced you to kiss him goodnight or kept trying to kiss you until you had to scream NO in his face (if that's even something you would even be confident enough to do — you were raised in a culture of politeness, so you probably aren't), whether this dude is someone who cares about your consent, or someone who wants to manipulate you into unwanted sexual contact with him.
It's a really good way to know if he's one of those morons who responds to a story about a female victim of male violence by saying, "She shouldn't have put herself in that situation," then gets all offended when you don't want to put yourself in the exact same situation with him. SHE should have known better than to go back to HIS apartment with him, but YOU are a paranoid bitch for not wanting to go to MY apartment with ME, because obviously I am a "nice guy" who would never hurt you.
There is literally no other reason a man would be offended that you would talk about defending yourself against male violence or unwanted touching. He's a rapist, an incel, or a moron.
I talked to a few high-quality men I know about this — men I've either said this to or asked to imagine their response had I said this to them when we first met. Not a single one found it off-putting or offensive.
"I totally still wanted to hang out with you," one told me. "Of course you have the right to defend yourself."
"Consent is sexy," said another. "If the girl isn't into it.. why would I even want to do it? There's nothing hot about being manipulative or not knowing if the girl is enjoying it."
"My first reaction would be, I AM WITH YOU 100%. I would not be put off at all."
"I am undeniably physically attracted to you, but the intellectual chemistry would be enough to last until you decide to consent. And then — FIREWORKS!"
And, interestingly, "If you said that to me, I would definitely wait for you to make the first move, or ask first before doing anything."
Good! That is exactly the situation I would want. Not to be like, "OMG I'm SO amazing!" but I am a very attractive woman (#ChooseBeautiful), and a LOT of guys want to kiss me.
A random guy who spent about three hours with me at a museum recently texted afterwards to say there were "at least five moments when I should have kissed you." NO THANKS! I literally knew you for three hours and felt no romantic chemistry with you. Why on EARTH would you think I wanted to kiss you?
1. I smiled, made eye contact, and paid attention when he was talking. As women, we call this "basic human courtesy." But men think this behavior is "flirting."
2. Studies show that men are significantly more likely to misinterpret women's behavior as flirting — whether participating in or observing an interaction. I spoke briefly to a drunk dude at a blues jam who'd literally just vomited in the bathroom and reeked of pukebourbon. His buddy later asked me whether we'd hooked up after, and I was honestly shocked. Why on earth would a sober, attractive woman go home with an average-looking, pukey drunk? Men are terrible at gauging interest. This is why, instead of telling girls they need to "look out for each other" at parties, we should be telling guys to take care of each other, so they don't accidentally rape someone.
But I digress. The point is, sometimes it feels like every dude I talk to wants to kiss me. I would much rather create a situation in which they wait for me to want to kiss them. Women should be the ones who make the first move. Or, at the very least, men should be manly and mature enough to ask first, which is the other possible outcome of telling men I will kill them if they ever touch me without my consent. They will ASK before touching me.
Objections I've heard from dudes on the internet include:
No, not really. Making random threats to a stranger you wouldn't even talk to in most situations isn't the same as telling someone you're about to go on a date with not to touch you without your consent. People who compare things that are completely unrelated are morons. Moreover, women aren't murdered by strangers on buses. They're murdered by men they know and trust.
Like I already said, this is a clear indicator of an overemotional moron. These are the exact types of dudes I described before — SHE shouldn't have put herself in that situation with HIM, but YOU should put yourself in that situation with ME. I... should assume that other men would sexually assault me, but it's offensive if I assume that you might?
As for shooting me if I break into your house in the middle of the night: that is exactly what you should do! You don't know if I'm armed. You don't know if I'm crazy. You don't know if I'm there to steal your TV or murder you. If I break into your house in the middle of the night, you SHOULD shoot me first, and ask questions later. It's for your own safety.
As I'm not planning on breaking into your house in the middle of the night, I am not offended by this. Had I been planning on breaking into your house in the middle of the night, I would choose someone else to rob/rape/kidnap/murder.
You know what that's called? Male privilege. You seriously can't comprehend why a woman who lives in a world so full of male violence would want to avoid being the victim of male violence? You think the only reason a woman would assert her right to bodily autonomy would be because someone already raped her?
This is one of the grossest examples not only of male privilege, but also of a complete and total lack of empathy and understanding for any perspective but your own. This alone would be a deal-breaker for me, as it means you're either stupid, an asshole, or some kind of sociopath. (Alternatively, I guess it could also mean you're some kind of backwards sexist who thinks women are, by default, powerless recipients of male action, and only a rape would drive women to have any agency in their encounters.)
I spend most of my time with high-quality men who have social skills and emotional intelligence, so I have the wonderful privilege of forgetting that men who are this lacking in empathy exist...
Until, of course, I write about defending myself against male violence on the internet
If you think it's "unhinged" for women not to want to be sexually assaulted, then please do find an excuse to leave.
As I already said, men need to look out for themselves and each other. If you want to protect yourself against false allegations, I totally support your right to ask me to sign a consent form, have a chaperone on our dates, or even somehow document that you walked me to my door and said goodnight without raping me.
Why.... why would I have a problem with that?
It's always cute when men try to mansplain periods and leggings to women. It's always cute when men try to police our language to make sure it's "nice" and "polite" enough.
But no. Bro, you don't get to police and sanitize my language to make it more palatable for weak, insecure men.
I believe that a euphemism is a lie. I believe that my words matter. I choose them intentionally to serve a specific purpose. In this case, to weed out weak, pathetic, insecure boys as well as rapists.
Obviously most men aren't rapists. I write posts about that all the time. The US is mostly a very safe place for women — as long as women have assertiveness and boundary-setting skills, like I do.
Telling men that I will kill them if they ever touch me without my consent is something I started doing on principle, because I believe women should feel comfortable talking about their bodily autonomy and defending themselves against male violence. However, I've been absolutely delighted by all the positive effects this had on my interactions with the men I choose to hang out with, as well as the feedback I've been getting from low-quality men whom such words would filter out of my social life.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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