During the interview, Lauer asks each woman how she ended up in the bunker. One woman, Cyndee, recounted:
I had waited on Reverend Richard at a York Steak House I worked at, and one night he invited me out to his car to see some baby rabbits, and I didn’t want to be rude, so…here we are.
The first time was in my inaugural post, Advantages of Traveling While Female, in which I wrote:
I think women are most likely to get hurt because they are afraid to be “rude.” If something gets weird and you feel uncomfortable, SAY SO. Confront the person. YELL if you need to. Storm off. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. This person is disrespecting you, and there is no reason you need to respond politely.
Likewise, don't be afraid of embarrassing or hurting someone's feelings. Let's go back to hitchhiking. I've always sworn to myself that if I'm ever hitchhiking, and someone pulls over who makes me feel the least bit unsafe, I will tell him, "Sorry, I thought you were someone else."
"Sorry, I was just kidding."
I have mentally rehearsed doing this so I'm not caught off-guard and I won't feel bad when it happens. And sure, he might be innocent and I might hurt his feelings... but I'll never see him again. And I'd rather hurt his feelings a little than be raped or killed, which would hurt my feelings a lot.
Which brings me to my second "be rude" post. In Why Most People Suck at Saying No, and How You Can Start Improving Today (which was later published in TIME), I wrote:
When it comes to drugs and unwanted sex, we teach our kids to "Just Say No." But in reality, hardly anyone ever “just says no.” We say, “I would, but…” "If it had been any day but today…” In other words, when people ask for something, you’re probably giving them an explanation/excuse as to why you must say no.
But this gives them a chance to try again. To find a little workaround. “Oh, you’re busy this week? How about next week?” “Oh, the drive is too far? Let’s meet half way!” (And, as I discuss below, saying no the first time makes you more likely to say yes out of guilt the second time.)
So if you want to say no better, JUST SAY NO. Practice different polite but assertive ways of doing it that contain no explanation/workaround, such as,
- “I can’t this time.”
- “Sorry — not today.”
- “That won’t work for me right now, but I’ll get back to you if anything changes.”
- “I really appreciate you thinking of me, but I’ve just got too much on my plate right now.”
To quote the former article again,
In a way, saying no is a low-level form of aggression (one of several reasons why women tend to have a harder time of it than men). But since people are generally cooperative and social, we overestimate the cost of saying no. (Which is why, generally, if you ask for something, people say yes — even if the reason you give for the ask is complete gibberish. Asking, "Can I cut you in line to use the copier, because I am in a rush?" is just as effective as asking, “Can I cut you in line to use the copier, because I need to use the copier?”)
I repeat: WE ROUTINELY OVERESTIMATE THE COST OF SAYING NO.
Keep this in mind next time someone asks you for something. Saying no isn’t as bad as you think.
Remember: when you do something because you're afraid of being rude, you are giving away time, money, energy and EVEN YOUR SAFETY. And you might never get it back.
Indeed, as I wrote in 3 Things I Wish All Girls (and Women) Knew,
If you've said, "No," and the guy answered with, "Oh, come on!" -- or by simply ignoring you, or by pretending to comply for a moment before trying again, or in any way other disrespecting your wishes -- which of you is actually being rude?
If you've told someone you don't want him to drive you home or walk to your door or come inside, and he tries to anyway... how are you possibly the one who is rude? In what universe?
He looked stunned. "Seriously?"
"Yes. Seriously. Give me back my frisbee. Now. I'm leaving."
And I left.
Because he had been rude to me. He had insulted me. I didn't feel obligated to be polite to someone who treated me badly. I did not feel the need to make an excuse ("Oh, umm, I think I should get going soon. I have a... meeting at six?"). I did not feel the need to give him an explanation ("I don't appreciate that you insulted me. Negging is like, the most disrespectful thing ever, and people who neg are pathetic.") -- because, remember, explanations only give people a way to work around your excuse or objection.
But even so, I still felt a little rude.
Which is why it is SO important to reframe your thinking about "rudeness." And to maintain that thinking. Take time to remind yourself, regularly, that you don't owe anyone anything. Even if he complimented you. Even if he bought you dinner. Even if whatever. You owe him nothing. If he tries to make you feel like you do, he is manipulating you. Don't let him.
Reframe, and maintain.
"I can't believe she's doing that! She has a boyfriend! What's Jordan going to think?" one girl exclaimed.
Another girl moved closer to the fire and added, "Yeah, well... I don't think Sarah can technically give consent right now."
My jaw hit the floor. "You're her friends?!"
"Then why aren't you doing something? He could be in there raping her! Do you even know that guy?"
ONLY THEN did Sarah's "friends" do something. Together, they went into the pool house and returned with Sarah, whose bra was hanging out because her shirt was all unbuttoned. They took her away -- I don't know where. A few minutes later, the would-be rapist emerged from the pool house and strode back to the party, ready for his next victim.
I don't know. But I suspect it had something to do with a fear of "seeming rude" or it "being awkward."
Shitty ass friends. Whenever I see a girl who might not be okay, I stop her and the guy who's dragging her away. I usually pretend I know her.
"Hey! How are you!"
And then I hug her and say quietly, "Do you know him? Are you okay? Do you want me to call someone? Do you need a ride?"
Most of the time when I do this, the girl smiles back at me, appreciatively, and says, "Yes, he's my boyfriend," or, "Don't worry about it - I already called someone." But on one occasion, the girl indicated that she didn't want to be with the guy, so I shooed him off.
"Sorry to cock block, but we've got a LOT of catching up to do! I'll take her from here. Have a nice night!"
Would she have been raped if I hadn't been afraid of "being rude?" It's impossible to say. But rape is horrible, and I don't want to take those odds.
That got a little wordy. If you've been skimming to this point, here's the TL;DR:
1. Women, you're not as rude as you think you're being.
2. Women, when you politely decline an advance, request or invitation from someone and he/she persists, it is that person, not you, who is rude.
3. Women, you don't owe anyone anything. If they try to manipulate you into thinking you do, you can literally tell them to fuck off.
4. Women, if you are afraid of "seeming rude," you are literally putting your life (and the lives of those around you) at stake. What's more important - not risking hurting someone's feelings, or not putting yourself in danger?
I leave you with this: