The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
When I was 16 years old, I went to a club with my mother to see a band perform. The part of the club where the concert was taking place was too hot and crowded, and I broke away from it before I had a full anxiety attack, though I was still visibly shaken. As I sat down at the bar, with my clearly marked under-18 hand stamp, an older man sat down next to me and started talking about how much nicer concerts were in his home country. He kept trying to offer me drinks, even though I already had a cup of ice. He would not leave me alone, even after I pointed out my hand stamp. Said that he preferred younger girls. I started to panic again.
A woman that was about 6’1” came over, grabbed me, and about screamed, “Girlfriend! I lost you in the crowd! Come on, your dad’s outside to get us!” She dragged me outside of the club, gave me a hug, and left. I ended up ditching my mum and actually calling my dad to pick me up.
Never ignore the ‘please help me’ face, ladies.
Had this happen so often to me as I grew up, being early with everything concerning puberty and body development. People notice. Ensured a large amount of cynicism and very practical way of dealing with this senseless stuff. Still, some people won’t understand a clear “No, fuck off” and the Please Help-face saved me when other women picked up on it. I myself helped out girls that way who didn’t dare to go against men, either telling off the men or pretending to be an old friend while I drag them out of the scene. Recently a man who has been beyond inappropriately creepy around me (the truly senseless way - which is what scares me as I don’t know if he has mental issues and knows how dangerous and ridiculously pushy without listening literally he’s being), where I lied through my teeth about the friend sitting next to me. She got it instantly. I can’t express how relieved I was.
It aggravates me so much. I don’t want to be overly cautious and turning down people when they ask if I want to “give it a shot” before knowing me properly - despite meaning it well. This isn’t the way to go. I need to know you first. An idea of who you are, your good and bad sides. Don’t jump on me senselessly. Sigh.
Help each other, ladies.
That was the whole point of starting this blog, to me.
And the fucked up thing about all of this is that even qith all of these women speaking up and sharing stories like this, there will still be doubt, we will be told by men that we are “overreacting” to our harassment.
I have had friends and acquaintances save me at the gym from overly eager men who won’t leave me alone. One time I literally had the “Save me I am desperate” face on for a full 20 minutes before a female acquaintance of mine noticed and interrupted him and asked if I was going to work out with her or not.
So this doesn’t just happen at bars. It’s happens in the gym too.
-you smell different when you’re awake
-please help me (then smile as if nothing happened)
-you have lovely skin, I can’t wait to wear it
-your hair tastes like strawberries
-he knows, don’t go home.
-I always knew you would die in my arms
-every time I poop I think of you
-no one will ever believe you
-I killed mufasa
-I bet you didn’t feel me lick your ear
-mother told me it would be like this