(Content warning: Rape culture, harassment)
I spent all morning thinking about how to write this post in a way that didn’t feel uncomfortably personal and detailed. Instead, I’ll say this.
Life isn’t actually a romantic movie. Repeatedly pursuing someone is scary and intimidating and generally not okay.
No means no. Obviously. Also, consent isn’t like one of those puzzle games where you have to move blocks to free some sort of trapped item. “No” does not mean “ask me why”, especially if you’re going to decide that whatever they answered isn’t really a problem anyway. “That’s fine, it’s fine, come on, I love you, come onnnn.” Incidentally, “no” also does not mean “how about now? how about now? how about now?”
Oh, and “no” isn’t just about sex. Consent can be given, or not given, for all sorts of things. Boundaries need to be respected.
Yes, sometimes we pesky mysterious women have these weird things called “feelings” and “opinions” which – shock horror – can cause us to not absolutely comply with what you want. This doesn’t automatically mean it’s all going to blow over and I’m going to change my mind. It also doesn’t mean I’m on my period, but even if I am, that still doesn’t mean it’s all going to blow over and I’m going to change my mind.
Silence is not a “yes”. Freezing up out of fear is not a “yes”. Physically pushing you away is not ambiguous at all.
Break-ups are difficult enough. Trying to leave someone who won’t take “no” for an answer is terrifying. Having someone break their own rules about not contacting you during the “break” they’ve insisted on first is, well, disconcerting.
Insisting you’ll change and you’re a different person isn’t going to work. Repeated incessant attempts to “re-obtain” the, erm, actual human being is probably going to push them away further. Because, well, they’re an actual human being.
This should really go without saying, but repeated Facebook messages, letters, and unexpected visits to someone who’s expressly asked for space is really creepy.
If someone’s blocked you on Facebook after all of this, that’s a pretty obvious way of saying “DON’T. CONTACT. ME.” This doesn’t mean “message me via Mum’s Facebook instead”. This doesn’t mean “show up as our first-foot on New Year’s Day so it’s too awkward to not let you in”. This doesn’t mean “set up a Twitter account and follow me there instead.” (N.B. Thankfully this was my personal Twitter, although I’m now massively scared that FeministAspie is next)
It’s little things, just little things, tiny little things that do nothing but remind me of why I had to get out.
No means no means no means no means no.