Saying No

It’s so hard figuring out what to write next, I feel like you guys have heard enough about the cute guy for now. It’s time to get to more serious topics. This weekend was Halloweekend and as such came with a lot of bad decisions; alcohol, drugs, parties and everything else that comes with Halloween at college. It also comes with a test of the nerves for people, especially girls (at least in my case), when it comes to saying no.

In a lot of the “harmless” girly talks I’ve had with my friends, I have noticed a weird lightheartedness about the aggression women (and men) can get from the opposite gender. I have had friends who laughed off sexual abuse and harassment from the opposite gender and that is not okay. They think because it’s so rampant and happens so often that it’s not a big deal even though it obviously makes them uncomfortable, and that makes me upset. I don’t like when my friends are hurt and they shouldn’t accept that kind of treatment.

Harassment doesn’t even need to be physical harassment, it can be emotional as well. I remember about two weeks ago I danced for a guy that had a special belly dance drum and my friends were all there dancing with me as well. I could tell that I had definitely piqued his interest. He said he wanted to come play for our belly dance club so we exchanged numbers to coordinate it. I knew he would probably flirt with me but I figured it would be casual and that he would eventually get that I’m not into him. But he kept texting me over and over to the point where it started to get upsetting. He was obviously not getting the message so I just had to tell him this.

“Hey, just so you know I’m not interested in you.”

I realize now that that was probably a bit cold but what could I do. The guy was constantly texting me and would get pissed off when I couldn’t hang out with him. It’s not like I even have time to go out much anyway. With school, writing for an online magazine, writing this, being captain of the belly dance club and still having a social life, I have no time to spare. He immediately said he was only being friendly and that’s not what he wanted at all. Sure. When you texted me multiple times a day asking to go do this or that even though I politely refused. That’s definitely not asking me out. Okay.

This can get to be harassment as well, as it sadly turned out to be. It may not have seemed like it to him but sometimes you have to think about the other person as well.

And then there’s the fact that it was Halloween weekend and there are scantily clad girls and drunk guys looking to score. Again, i’m not saying everyone is doing this (I was slightly scantily clad myself) and just because a girl is wearing something revealing does not give a guy or anyone for that matter the right to her.

I went to a massive party with my friends that was so awesome it got broken up by the cops. It was like one of those college house parties in the movies where there are people in every nook and cranny singing, dancing, laughing, smoking, kissing and playing any and every game. To give you an idea of how many people were in this small two floor home, as we were rushing out we heard the cops counting. As we left they said “120” and there were still a lot of people behind us!

My friends and I were dancing in the glow paint and spray paint covered basement with it’s neon colored homemade bar, strobe lights and fog machine – these guys really like to decorate. Guys kept trying to dance with us, grope us left and right. There was one guy who was particularly aggressive and was humping Ally and I like a puppy humps the side of someone’s leg. He was so forceful that he succeeded in separating our group of four into two as he tried to dance with us. Then I grabbed Ally and walked away back to our other friends but he came back.

Then Madison glared at him and told him to back off and he held up his hands as he backed away. We kept our eye on him and drifted to the opposite end of the room to avoid him. It was scary, especially when we got separated from our friends, what if he had succeeded in separating us further until he could take one of us aside. This is why it is important to stick up for yourself and others and know when what someone is doing is absolutely not okay.

Ladies and Gentlemen, do not accept any form of abuse. Whether it’s from a stranger or someone you are close to, physical or emotional, large or small DO NOT ACCEPT ANY FORM OF ABUSE. Saying no is the most important thing anyone can learn in their life and can save you from a lot of unwanted attention or trouble. So please, everyone think of yourself (or your loved ones if you know of someone being abused or harassed) and take action to stop it.

***

Also – my friend does an amazing radio show which is on right now, every Monday 12 a.m. – 2 a.m (or late Sunday as he likes to say). So if you’re up like I am, listen to it, it’s really good. http://goo.gl/psCUaT

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