This Tumblr Account Tells You What Happens When Women Reject Men
On 23rd May 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger opened fire in Isla Vista near the University of California, killing six and injuring seven. In a video he released prior to the shooting, he blamed his rage on women who rejected him, which caused him to live a life of “loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires.” The Internet responded with #YesAllWomen to prove how every woman, starting from the age of 5 has to deal with gender-based violence. The immediate response stated that the UCSB shooting was an isolated incident, and #NotAllMen were the same. While we may agree with that sentiment, that doesn't nullify the fact that EVERY woman will deal with gender-based violence all her life.
Writer Kate Harding started curating stories about women who have faced this kind of violence in their life on her Facebook page, following which author and blogger Deanna Zandt joined forces with Lainna Fader, Kate Tull, Kathryn Peters and Shauna Gordon-McKeon started the Tumblr page When Women Refuse to document such stories as well as welcome women to share their own stories. Zandt told The Huffington Post , “One of the things we're hoping people take away from this, however they're coming to the conversation, is to understand that these are not isolated incidents. These things happen way more than our cultural consciousness [will recognize].”
We've compiled some of the most horrific stories that show women beginning to see the strains of misogyny and male privilege even before they understand what violence is.
I was stalked by a 23-year-old in primary (elementary) just because I had bigger breasts than all the others. When my parents called the police, they did nothing to stop him. He stalked me for seven years, when he began sexually harassing me by touching my breasts and bottom. Everyday, he would walk me home. I refused him repeatedly, and one time he got violent. He took a pocket knife out and tried to stab me, but luckily a nearby stranger rescued me. He stalked me for three more years until finally the cops took action and arrested him for child sexual abuse, abuse, and - get this - 14 charges of rape in cases not my own.
I was 18 and working as a waitress at a chain restaurant. He was twenty+ years my senior and working in the kitchen. He took an interest in me, and by that, I mean that when I talked to him, he would ask me questions and write down my answers. I lied every time, except about my age, hoping that he’d back off. He would touch me as I walked by and tried to kiss me hello on a few occasions, which I dodged. When he explicitly asked me to “hang out” I refused. He told me he’d wait for me in the parking lot after work. I left early that day. The next night, he locked me in a walk-in freezer until I would talk to him. I quit my job the next day.
*I must state, that this didn’t happen to me, it happened to a close friend. And yet, she isn’t the only case in my country. Her boyfriend moved in with her because his home was getting painted. This means that he moved in temporarily. And after a week of living together, in their house, she heard a ring. She lives in an underground apartment, so to enter the building, she must go downstairs. So when she answered the ring, they told her that it was her ex-boyfriend. And like she has a great friendship with him, she went upstairs to meet him. But little did she knew, that this person was NOT her ex. Many years ago, a strange fellow started telling her that she was “really pretty” and to please “go out with him”. She wasn’t interested, so she said no to him various times. Later, she realized that this guy was stalking her, so she threatened him by saying that she was going to “call the police” and thought the issue was over. Well, when this guy found out that they started living together, he thought “if she isn’t for me, then she’s for nobody else.” And when my poor friend started walking up the stairs, the guy THREW A BUCKET OF ACID ON HER. She luckily survived, but it is horrifying that saying “no” can lead you to such a horrible event. It is so unfair!
I was in second and third grade, he was in third and fourth (the bulk of it lasted for two years, until I moved). He followed me around constantly and would often say or do inappropriate things, but I was too nice to tell him I didn’t want his friendship (or any kind of relationship with him). I finally worked up the courage to reject him after I found out he was going to “propose” to me (he had a wedding ring and everything). After I told him I wasn’t interested, he bullied me mercilessly. He lived near me so it occurred in school, on the bus, and when I was playing outside. He would hit me, throw things at me, and follow me everywhere (one of his favorite things was running up behind me and yanking HARD on my hair until he ripped some out). I don’t remember why I didn’t tell people about this, but I think it was a mix of being too scared and thinking that behavior was normal/expected from boys. One incident I remember particularly well occurred while I was riding my bike around the block. He got on his own bike and started tailing me and yelling at me and hitting me with a stick. I pedaled as fast I could and cried and screamed but couldn’t evade him. I was so scared and distracted that I ended up crashing into a tree. I don’t remember the extent of my injuries, but I remember the fear. I also remember the apathetic faces of his brother and friend, who saw the entire incident and didn’t do a thing. I mean, what did I expect? I shouldn’t have led him on for so long.
I was 16, and had turned down J.T.’s advances over the previous 2 months. He became more aggressive with each rejection to the point that I avoided the football field during practice (he was on the team) as well as the hallways that he frequented because he verbally harassed me and threatened me with physical violence (including references to violating me) when he saw me. I was completely alone in the girl’s locker room at a corner locker changing for swim practice and while I was standing there nude J.T. walked in. I was sure that this was the moment that he’d make good on his threats. All I had to protect me was my voice, so I started shouting “Get out of here! Leave me alone!”. A classmate came in and I told her that J.T. had been bothering me for months, told her to get the teacher, and I kept yelling at him to leave. I couldn’t leave because J.T. was between me and the door and all I had shielding me was my towel. J.T. continued to walk toward me with a fight-ready posture repeating his threats of violating me while also saying “What’s Mrs. X going to do? She can’t do anything to stop me” (Our gym teacher was an extremely diminutive woman). He nearly snatched away my towel when the teacher finally arrived. He refused to leave at first, but then the teacher raised her voice and he finally left. This is the first time I’ve ever talked about this. At the time, J.T.’s behavior and confrontation was considered the result of a miscommunication between a boy and a girl rather than the sexual harassment that it is-if it was ever discussed. Today, 28 years later, I have seen J.T. on facebook along with many other classmates, but I have blocked him because I STILL feel nauseated, intimidated, frightened, angry, and violated when I see him. Time does NOT heal all wounds.
I was traveling in Europe and drinking at a bar with a group of people I had just met. One guy invited me over to his place for the night, and I said no. He said it wasn’t very Canadian of me, as Canadians are known to be polite and say yes. He tried to kiss me and I told him to back off. He called me a slut and said that I clearly hadn’t had enough to drink.
I got engaged too young, and too quickly. I wound up breaking up with him when I realized that he was an obsessive, co-dependent alcoholic. (He once claimed that he “allowed” me to have male friends. The beginning of the end.) When I told him it was over, he locked me in the bathroom (not literally, but he blocked the door and physically prevented me from leaving) until I started screaming. Then I grabbed my bag and left as quickly as I could. I walked for miles while he followed me, barefoot. He went back and forth between crying and telling me he loved me, calling me a bitch and a slut, and saying everything was fine and we should go to the beach. I ran into him at a party months later, and he cornered me on the basement stairs and tried to convince me to go home with him. Again, he physically prevented me from leaving until I started screaming. For years, he would call and text me at all hours, frequently late at night when he was drunk. Sometimes, six years later, he still does.
It started off innocently. A boy sending her a directed picture on Instagram. Talking to her sweetly, asking her general stuff. Finally he got around to telling her that he liked her and asking her out. She very politely explained that she had no interest in dating yet. He replied he expected her to be disgusted. She very strongly told him that no, she thought he was very nice and thanked him for his interest, but told him she personally had no interest in dating at this time, it wasn’t him. Then he threatened suicide, telling her about the gun he had access to and suggesting that if he didn’t end his life he was going to harm others. Finally suggesting all of this could be averted if only someone would love him. We had to contact the police and the school. This is her first, but I’m sure not her last experience with what happens when you say no.
When I was a senior in high school, I refused to get sexual with my current boyfriend and he had understood. During a period where we were broken up, I experimented sexually with a male friend I had known for years and felt more comfortable with. After I got back together with my boyfriend and he found out, he threatened to murder my male friend and force himself on me during a school trip because he felt more “entitled” to me. It took me a month to finally tell someone because he had actually brought a weapon on that trip and easily could have done what he threatened to do. After he was arrested, I later found out that he had tried to rape a fourteen year old girl during our break from each other.
We had broken up, I had gotten out of a three year emotionally abusive, controlling relationship after finally seeing it for what it was. It was hard, but a few months later I had finally moved on and hooked up with a nice guy. I was still on good terms with my ex, but when he found out I had kissed someone else, he went insane. He threatened to kill himself, me, and the guy.He called and texted me with an app that made it so that I couldn’t use my phone. He came to my dorm room “to return the stuff I’d given him” and stayed there for six hours against my will, trying to kill himself and saying I’d have to call the police to remove him. He finally left in a rage after threatening to rape me once I let it slip that I had slept with someone else. The next day, he decided he wanted his stuff back at 1am, and if I didn’t bring it to him right then, he would drain my bank account, hack my email and Facebook and post bad pictures of me everywhere, and drive to my school and smash my car windows. I decided to bring his stuff to him the next evening. The girl he had cheated on me with throughout our relationship sent me a screenshot of him telling her he was planning on killing me. He told me to come alone, so I brought my parents. He said nothing as we gave him his stuff, but called my parents as soon as we left, saying we would have to kill him before he left me alone. We called the police who threatened him, and he finally stopped contacting me. A few days later, I started dating the guy I had been hooking up with, who had stood by me through everything. My ex has tried to start conversations with me but I will not speak to him. I have recurring nightmares about him trying to kill me, and I’ve considered going to therapy for them. I still don’t understand how someone I once loved could have turned into my worst nightmare.
I had broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years and, having no place else to go, moved back in with my parents. He began following me, showing up places where he knew I would be, and constantly calling me on the phone. He threatened to kill me, kill my parents, kidnap our son, and burn my parents’ house down with all of us inside. Unfortunately, at the time there were really no laws against stalking and because he hadn’t actually assaulted me, the police said there was nothing they could do. Finally one day he made the mistake of leaving a threatening message on our answering machine, and we could have him charged with making terroristic threats. I still don’t think he would’ve stopped though if he hadn’t been suspected of a robbery and fled the state.
Earlier today I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an alarming post from a former co-worker. She posted pictures of her busted forehead and a deep cut near her wrist. After reading the comments, I learned that her soon-to-be-ex husband had beat her, cut her, all while repeatedly calling her a “whore.” Last week my friend quit work on short notice and moved to another town, and I was confused because she seemed to love her job. While looking at the photos, I began to cry because it brought back memories of an abusive relationship my mom had with a boyfriend when I was in first grade. My mom had come to pick me up with a giant bruise that took up half her face. It was in the shape of a boot sole because her abusive boyfriend had stomped on her face. I remember the deep purple “stars” of the boot sole located a few inches from her eye. It was horrifying. I messaged my friend to tell her how brave she was, and how lucky she was to get out of there alive. I thanked her for her post because it spread awareness. She told me she had to leave because her son deserves better. And she does, too.
I told him I wanted to break up with him. It turned into yet another screaming match. He wrestled me to the ground behind our bedroom door so nobody could get into the room to help me. I eventually screamed loud enough to wake up our roommate who called 911. Our other roommate came home in the meantime and managed to talk him down, I locked myself in the bathroom until the police arrived — utterly humiliated because these things aren’t supposed to happen to smart girls like me. It took me years to realize that it wasn’t my fault, that I had not “provoked him” and that being a “smart girl” doesn’t mean a thing when someone thinks they have ownership of you.
5 years ago, I went through a withdrawal process during my first college semester because a man who I had just met committed “attempted rape” against me, and I was a nervous wreck walking around campus. One evening while still living in my dorm, a good friend called and said she was with a guy who “seemed like my type.” There was a large group of us hanging out in the guy’s dorm room, and before I understood what was happening, I was alone with him, my friend walking out the door, mouthing assurances that we’d have a great conversation. They were going out drinking, while the “great guy” and I would be “getting to know each other,” both completely sober. Our conversation quickly got uncomfortable. He groped my chest and I told him I wasn’t up for anything more than talking. He told me he understood, but I just needed someone to show me a “good sexual experience.” He proceeded to hold my shoulders tightly and “instruct” me on how to perform oral sex. I was scared and had no idea what to do. He eventually let go, and I began to back away. Before I could move much, he pushed me backwards and pulled my jeans and underwear off and proceeded to try and force himself into me. I struggled and tried clamping my legs shut, telling him “no.” He continued talking in a low voice, telling me, “Oh, but you’ll like this. You just have to let me in.” Eventually, I shut down, and he was able to rape me while I just lay there, tears on my face. When it was over, he went into the bathroom to clean himself up. I lay there for a while trying to get back to reality. I got dressed and panicked when he came back before I could leave. He insisted on walking me back to my dorm. He talked at me the whole way there, about how nice he thought I was, and how he and his family stuck up for the women in their town when they were being harassed by men. I just walked beside him, taking it in while also not really being there. When I was in my room, alone, I looked in the mirror and saw a girl who wasn’t me. This girl had no expression on her tear-stained face, and the skin exposed by her v-neck sweater had her own blood smeared on it by the hands of a guy she did not know at all. The next morning, I acted as if nothing had happened. I continued acting as if nothing had happened for years. But it did happen. A guy with no alcohol in his system, who heard me saying “no” and could see that I was visibly upset and panicked, pinned me down until I was no longer a virgin, and became a girl who couldn’t express herself for too long.
We'd like to hear the arguments of anyone who still believes that incidents of gendered violence are isolated. These are a mere 15 stories, but we urge all our readers to go to the Tumblr page here , and read about the hundreds of stories of women all across the world.
Artwork by Vineet Kumar .