It is outrageous — but only because it’s the pervasive experience of women everywhere. In a world where women get killed for refusing to give a strange man their phone number, they do not have the luxury of giving you the benefit of the doubt. I have no idea what you are actually like until you demonstrate it. In the meantime, I’m running a low-level threat assessment sub-routine at all times.

“Tiarah Poyau was a 22-year-old graduate student and aspiring accountant when she told a man at a dance party to “get off” after he started to grind on her. His response was to shoot her in the face. Iowa college student Mollie Tibbets was killed by a man she told to leave her alone when he approached her while she was jogging. A Detroit mother of three was killed because she refused to give a stranger her phone number. A New York woman had her neck slashed when she declined her attacker’s offer for a date.”

This doesn’t have to happen all the time, but there is no way to predict if this time is OK, or if it’s going to turn into an incident like those above. That’s where the pervasive fear comes in.

And you are continuing to miss the point — the fact that women are always on a type of alert that you will never be on has nothing to do with you. I’m not creating fear — I’m simply naming it. Pretending it isn’t there won’t make it go away and making this issue about you is a deflection.

“No-one taught me to run this endless threat assessment program. I learned it the hard way by being female in a world where that is not a safe thing to be. I learned it at about age 10, which is when most girls begin to be harassed in public. These are children, not even fully into puberty in most cases, but we live in a world where many men think they are some kind of “fair game.”

If you really want to understand this dynamic as explained by a man who gets it, read this:

and these are good too…….

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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